In the city of Naples there are miracles, there is heart, and there is chaos. Just outside the bustling and busy street of Via Toledo– a street that once was full of Roman soldiers traveling to and from the port by the Mediterranean Sea– there is a special history known to the locals and spiritual pilgrims of a beautiful life led by Dr. Saint Joseph Moscati, “The holy physician of Naples.”
If you have the chance to travel in the south of Italy, or along the Amalfi Coast and are seeking spiritual gems, this is one saint in particular worth visiting among the many that can be found in Italy.
Joseph Moscati (born July 25th 1880) was the 7th of 9 children, born to a family rich with noble traditions and good examples. Always a successful, bright, and virtuous student; he eventually enrolled at Naples University to study medicine. He passed his years brilliantly and very soon became a celebrity for his success in medicine and general knowledge of literature, languages, art, and natural history. He was known for his strength in character and faith in God throughout his career, and soon became known for his miraculous healings in both body and soul of his patients.
Everybody noticed the spiritual care Moscati took of all those whom he met. His true purpose was always to heal the suffering of the soul, and then the physical body. He was declared a Saint on October 25th 1987.
Moscati practiced his profession with a yogi-like sense of detachment and renunciation, while performing acts of true charity. He never accepted any fee– whether patients be rich or poor– relying only on the bank account of God to help him serve others. He also used the remaining wealth of his family on giving medicines and food to those in need.
There are many examples of acts of service in his life, but a few in particular set the tone for his dedication and heroic example of charity:
-During the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in April 1906, he voluntarily helped to evacuate the frail and infirm patients of a nursing home in a building that was in the midst of collapse.
-He served beyond the call of duty during a cholera epidemic in 1911, treating the poor in the midst of the outbreaks to relieve the ill and prevent further spread of the disease.
-He treated nearly 3,000 soldiers during World War I.
These do not even include the numerous accounts of personal stories of miracles and healings from those who sought him during his life and since his passing in 1927.
The center of Naples is a perfect example of the city of Naples’s devotional and chaotic nature. There you can find the Church of Gesù Nuovo, the resting place of Moscati. Above his tomb is an altar dedicated to his life and service, as well as a grand bronze statue of him with open palm. If you place your hand in Moscati’s palm you can offer your gratitude, say a prayer, or ask him for a healing miracle. You can also sit and meditate in the presence of his saintly energy and feel the joy and love that he still transmits to this day.
After, you are welcome to visit the church’s beautiful collection of artifacts from Moscati’s life, including those of his sister– who through his example also became saintly while giving her life to serving the poor.
You can also find materials and writings about his life, including his Rules of Conduct:
Be a lover of truth:
Show yourself the man you are,
Without fear of favors.
And if truth costs you persecution,
Do welcome it.
If it costs you torments,
Do endure them.
And if for truth’s sake
You must sacrifice yourself,
And even your life,
Be steadfast in your sacrifice.
If you want to learn more about the life of Saint Joseph Moscati, there is a wonderful film about him titled, Saint Giuseppe Moscati: Doctor to the Poor. The director is a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi. Below are more pictures from the pilgrimage to the Amalfi Coast and to see the place of Saint Joseph Moscati:
And while you are in the center of Naples, definitely be sure to:
- Eat a pizza from the best place in the city and thus in Italy– Starita’s Pizzeria located in the center.
- Have a gelato from Fantasia off Via Toledo.
- Eat a homemade pasta from a trattoria
- Have a clementine from Calabria and giant lemon from Sorrento
- Have a café from Café Mexico or the famous cafe in Piazza Plebicito
- Strike a conversation with some locals if you can– and see for yourself their amazing openness and big hearts!
- The Shrine of Padre Pio at San Giovanni Rotondo
- Avellino, Italy: The Sanctuary of Montevergine
- The City of Peace: A Visit to Saint Francis of Assisi