St. Giuseppe Moscati Feast Day

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By Tasha Friedman

Today is the feast day of St. Giuseppe Moscati, the holy doctor of Naples!

Moscati lived from 1880 until 1927, a short time on the Earth but one in which he touched countless lives with his tireless work.

A devout Catholic from birth, Moscati once sought priesthood in the Jesuit Order, but when the Jesuits decided he could do better work in the secular world, he took vows as a Third Order Franciscan, committing to a life of service and simplicity.

Moscati’s medical career spanned multiple disciplines and he was responsible for many innovations, including research that led to cholera eradication and the origins of insulin therapy.

However, he became most widely known as a doctor to the poor. Never turning away a patient for lack of funds, he would instead sometimes send them home with an envelope of cash along with their medication.

He treated more than 3,000 wounded soldiers during World War One, and risked his own life to rescue patients from a nursing home during the 1906 eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.

In the good doctor’s own words:

“Sick people are Jesus Christ’s creatures. Many wicked people, criminals, swearers, find themselves in a hospital by God’s mercy. He wants them to be saved! Nuns, doctors, and nurses that work in a hospital have a mission: cooperating with this endless mercy, helping, forgiving and sacrificing themselves.”

As so many great karma yogis in all traditions, Moscati acted in total surrender to divine Grace, allowing himself to be like Mother Teresa’s pen in the hand of God.

For Moscati, there was no separation between his faith and his work in the world. He considered the relief of suffering as a divine calling. The Catholic sacraments, which he described as the “first medicine,” were the center of his life, and healing the souls of his patients was as important as addressing their bodies.

“Remember,” he wrote in a letter to one of his former students, “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.”

Through this flow of “endless mercy,” Moscati achieved a reputation as a miracle worker, Miraculous healings were attributed to him even after his departure from the physical body. (One of which resulted in his canonization: a young man dying of leukemia was cured after a doctor in a white coat appeared in his mother’s dream. She later identified the figure as Moscati based on a photograph.)

Giuseppe Moscati stands as a reminder that even the most ordinary life can become extraordinary. He came from no special origin, with no unusual experiences or dramatic mystical achievements. His power was that of persistence, compassion, humbleness, and pure, unshakeable faith.

He can inspire us also to live our lives as an expression of the Heart, with no division between the inner work of Self-Inquiry and outer work of service.

Tasha is a Hridaya Yoga teacher and a frequent contributor to our blog. You can read all of her posts here.

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