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gasparGaspar was a well- known preacher and spiritual director. He was born to a rich family in Verona, Italy, in 1777. At his first Communion, he received a vision and message that he was to enter the priesthood. He entered the seminary in 1796, when French troops began a 20-year occupation of northern Italy. Gaspar volunteered to help those who were wounded, ill or displaced.

After his ordination in 1800, he helped to establish free schools for the poor. He also helped to organize a European movement to offer prayers for Pope Pius VII, who was imprisoned by Napolean Bonaparte.

In 1816, he founded the Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata of Our Lord Jesus Christ. He died 19 years later, in 1835, after years of fighting an infection in his right leg. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1989. – CNA

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