His canonization miracle involved curing a young ironworker who was dying of leukemia; the patient‘s mother dreamed of a doctor wearing a white coat; she later identified his as Moscati when shown a photograph of him; soon after her son was cured. He is the first modern physician to be canonized.
Joseph Mario Charles Alphonse Moscati, seventh of nine children born to a prominent family, the son of Francsco Moscati, a lawyer and magistrate who served as an altar server whenever possible, and Rosa de Luca dei Marchesi di Roseto, whose family was Italian nobility. Giuseppe’s family moved to Naples, Italy when the boy was four years old; he made his First Communion at age eight, Confirmation at ten.
Friend of Blessed Bartolo Longo and Blessed Caterina Volpicelli, he received his doctorate from the University of Naples in 1903. He worked at and served as administrator of a hospital for the incurable while continuing to study and do medical research. He assisted in the preparation for and recovery from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on 8 April 1906, but refused any recognition for the work. He also led the work to stop cholera in Naples, and was a Member of the Royal Academy of Surgical Medicine in 1911, and received a doctorate in physiological chemistry.
He directed several hospitals and medical societies, and was one of the first to experiment with the use of insulin for diabetes. Tried to enlist in the army in World War I, but was refused and instead ran a hospital for the wounded; personally treated almost 3,000 soldiers. He healed (sometimes miraculously), taught at numerous universities and hospitals, and supported the poor and outcast; could sometimes diagnose a patient‘s illness and prescribe for it without having seen the patient. And, knew when and how to use a patient‘s faith and the sacraments to effect a cure.
Besides being an excellent doctor, Joseph Moscati was holy too. How did he do it? Each morning he went to Mass and spent time in prayer. Then the doctor would visit the sick poor in the slums of Naples. From there he would go to the hospital and begin his rounds. For twenty-five years, Joseph worked and prayed for his patients. He knew that the well-being of the soul often affected the health of the body. Along with prescriptions for medication, Dr. Moscati would prescribe prayer and a return to the sacraments, often with dramatic results! He saw Confession and Communion as the “first medicines”. He poured all his strength into his life’s calling.
On the afternoon of April 12, 1927, Dr. Moscati did not feel well, so he went to his office and relaxed in an armchair. There he had a stroke and died. He was forty-seven years old.
“Remember that, following Medicine, you undertook upon yourself the responsibility of teachings always in your memory, with love and pity for the abandoned, with faith and enthusiasm, deaf to praises and criticisms, to envy, inclined only to God.” -from a letter to Dr.Giuseppe Biondi, Sept. 4th, 1921
“Life doesn’t end with death, it continues in a better way. It has been promised to everyone, after the world’s redemption, the day that will join us again to our beloved dead and that will bring us again to Supreme Love!”
–St Joseph Moscati
“Let us daily practice charity. God is love. He who loves is in God and God in him. Let us never forget to offer every day, nay, every moment, our actions to God, doing all things for love…Love the truth, show yourself as you are, without pretenses and fears…and if the truth causes you persecution, accept it, and if it causes you some torment, bear it. And if for the sake of truth you should sacrifice yourself and your life, be strong in your sacrifice.”
-St Joseph Moscati
“Charity changed the world, not science…very few men are remembered because of science; but anyone can be an everlasting symbol of life eternal, where death is nothing but a step, a metamorphosis towards a higher place, if they will dedicate themselves to good”
-St Joseph Moscati
“Remember, that you must treat not only bodies, but also souls, with counsel that appeals to their minds and hearts rather than with cold prescriptions to be sent in to the pharmacist.”
-St Joseph Moscati
“Who is the one we today propose to the imitation and veneration of everyone? He is a layman, who made his life a mission completed with evangelical genuineness. He is a doctor, who made his profession a training ground for the apostolate and a mission of charity. He is a University Teacher remembered by his students with a deep sense of gratitude and admiration. He is an haute école scientist, famous for his scientific contributions on an international scale. That is his life…”
-Pope Paul VI, beatification of Joseph Moscati
“The man who from today on we will invoke as a Saint of the Universal Church, is facing us as a concrete realization of the lay Christian ideal. Joseph Moscati, head physician, a great researcher, University teacher of human physiology and physiological chemistry, fulfilled all his many tasks with all the will and seriousness that these lay delicate professions require. From this point of view, Moscati is not only an example to be admired, but also to be imitated by the physicians… He is an example even to those people who don’t share his faith”.
-Blessed John Paul II, canonization of Joseph Moscati
“Dear St Joseph Moscati, true model of Christian doctors, in the exercise of your medical profession, you always took care of both the body and soul of every patient.
Look on us, who have recourse to your heavenly intercession, and obtain for us both physical and spiritual health, and a share in the dispensation of heavenly favors.
Soothe the pains of our suffering people; give comfort to the sick, consolation to the afflicted and hope to the despondent.
May our young people find in you an ideal, our workers an example, the aging a comfort, the dying the hope of eternal salvation.
To all of us be a pattern of industriousness, honesty and charity; so we may comply with our Christian duties and glorify God our Father.”
St Joseph Moscati, Model for Laity, pray for us!