Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

May 23 | Courage (Pt. 2)

Saint Giovanni Battista de' Rossi

A.D. 1698–1764

The measure of your life will be the measure of your courage.

Everything significant in life requires courage. For Saint Giovanni Battista de' Rossi, that meant the courage to be a priest even when he was suffering from seizures that he feared would stop him from carrying out God’s work.

Despite his noble lineage, Giovanni’s life was far from easy. His epilepsy imposed enormous physical limitations on his life. But it also brought with it a heavy social stigma. Yet, it was through this very vulnerability and struggle that Giovanni's strength of spirit shone most brightly.

Giovanni struggled with epilepsy his whole life, and his first seizure happened while attending a Mass, something his fellow congregants found ominous. When he tried to enter the seminary, he was denied due to his medical condition. That did not stop Giovanni, and he kept asking until he was granted a special dispensation. In the seminary, his epilepsy often caused him to miss class, and he was in constant pain. He was also frightened that he might have a seizure one day while hearing confessions, and wondered if he could really carry out his priestly duties.

Nevertheless, Saint Giovanni Battista de' Rossi was ordained a priest in 1721.

His ministry was deeply influenced by his personal afflictions. He tirelessly served Rome's most destitute, often risking his own health, showing that true strength lies not in physical might but in the courage to love and serve amidst personal trials. 

His condition, rather than being a source of despair, fueled his empathy. Understanding suffering from within, Giovanni ministered with a heart that knew pain yet chose to love all the more more fiercely because of it.

Saint Giovanni's courage was not a loud or ostentatious force but a quiet, persistent flame that illuminated the darkness for many. 

Who are the people you most admire from history? What would they be without courage? Take a moment to think about some of the saints we’ve covered so far:

Saints Joan of Arc, Catherine of Siena, Patrick, Paul, Timothy, Francis de Sales, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Thomas Aquinas, John Bosco, Catherine de’ Ricci, Scholastica, Gabriel Possenti, Perpetua, Felicity, Mary, Joseph, Antony the Abbot, Gemma Galgani, and all the martyrs we’ve discussed.

Who would they have been without courage? How would their lives have been different without courage? How would our lives be different if they had lacked the courage to embrace their destiny? How would the world be different?

Nothing worthwhile in history has been achieved without courage. Courage is the father of every great moment and movement in history. And courage will give birth to the next great season of your life.


God gives me the courage to live my mission in life.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Patron Saint of: Voltaggio, Italy

Feast Day: May 23

Canonized: December 8, 1881

Canonized By: Pope Leo XIII

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