Spring 2014 Magazine - Immaculata University - page 14

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I MMA C U L ATA MA G A Z I N E * S P R I N G 2 0 1 4
At the time of his election in 1958, Pope
John XXIII was considered by many, perhaps
even by the cardinals who voted for him, to be
a “caretaker”—an individual who, because of
his age, would probably have a short pontifi-
cate, dedicated to continuing the agenda of his
predecessor. His years were indeed short, but his
legacy—both of spirit and action—has had an
impact on the Church and on the citizens of the
world community.
His holiness and his capacity for human and
sacred decision-making were rooted in the family
values of his native Bergamo. Angelo Giuseppe
Roncalli was born on Nov. 25, 1881, the fourth
of fourteen children in a family of sharecroppers.
His early life centered on farm labor and the
religious practices of his family and his parish
church. His interest in study was stimulated in
these early years by priests who recognized his
intellectual promise and by his sense of vocation.
In his journals, the Holy Father notes that he did
not remember a time when he did not wish to be
a priest. Simplicity and joy were characteristics
of his early life that remained constants. He
never confused piety with gloom, and in all the
positions he filled in his lifetime, Father Roncalli
remained a peasant boy at heart.
After ordination in 1904, Father Roncalli
served as a teacher in the diocesan seminary and
secretary to the Bishop of Bergamo. War inter-
vened and he was called to military service, where
he was attached to a medical unit while continu-
ing to teach. During the years following World
War I, a confused time that saw the growth of
fascist ideology, Father Roncalli devoted time to
outreach to students through a Catholic-centered
club house and other activities, showing an en-
thusiasm for social action set in motion by Pope
Leo XIII’s
Rerum Novarum
.
This period ended with his appointment as
director of the Rome office of the Society for the
Propagation of the Faith and, ultimately, to his
assignment in 1925 as papal visitor to Bulgaria.
Further diplomatic posts followed: apostolate
delegate to Turkey and Greece (1934) and nuncio
“SAINT” John Paul II: Salty Servant of the Lord
By Sister Marie Hubert Kealy, IHM, Ph.D.
Pope John XXIII
“There was a man sent from God
whose name was John...”
By Sister Marie Hubert Kealy, IHM, Ph.D. ,
Professor Emerita of English
1...,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13 15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,...52
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