Sunday, July 8, 2012

Venerable Friar Ave Maria

Cesare PISANO, (1900-1964) blind hermit of Divine Providence, from Pogli di Ortovero (SV, Italy), died at Voghera (PV, Italy) on 21st January 1964, at 63 years of age, 42 of religious profession and 52 of blindness. 

Cesare Pisano became blind when he was only 12. A playground friend, accidentally, shot him in the face, with a rifle: his eyes went dark forever. At first, he went through a period of desolation and depression, to the point of losing his trust in God. But a religious sister first and, subsequently, Don Orione, brought him to hope again. At 20 he entered the "Paterno" (Mother House) of Tortona; at 23 he became a hermit with “the task of praying", as the Founder told him. 

Friar Ave Maria spent his life in seclusion, penance and prayer in the hermitage of Sant'Alberto di Butrio (Pavia). Don Orione referred to him as "a beautiful soul: I would not be surprised if he performed miracles". "The happy blind man" as Friar Ave Maria liked to call himself, became an apostle to his brothers, physically or spiritual blind, through his writings as well as his prayer. He wished to celebrate the "golden jubilee" of his blindness, in 1962, inviting everyone to "a solemn hymn of thanksgiving to blessed Jesus, who in a marvelous way knows how to change everything into good for those who love him. You have changed my darkness into light and my sadness into joy. You alone, oh Jesus, are my light and my joy".

Divine Intimacy, his humble and joyful goodness, the wisdom of his words, the holy countenance of one who is absorbed in thoughts of heaven, acquired for him the respect of many people in need of comfort and light. He was blind, but it was enough to look at him - many people remember - to realize that our poor everyday life and the decisions we had to take, would become enlightened by his presence. He brought people back to simplicity and to what is essential. You could tell that he was in constant, heart to heart and transparent contact with God. 

 His body lies in the crypt of the hermitage of Sant'Alberto di Butrio. A pontifical decree about his "heroic virtues" of the 18th December 1997 means that the Church officially recognizes him as "Venerable".

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