This young saint had a difficult life. Nunzio Sulprizio was born into a poor family in Italy. His dad and mom died when he was a child. His grandmother then cared for him and took him to Mass with her as his own mother had done. Things were looking up for Nunzio until his grandmother died, too.
Always trusted in Jesus
Nunzio went to live with his uncle. The uncle forced Nunzio to work in his blacksmith shop instead of going to school. The work was too difficult for a child, but Nunzio did not have
a choice. Sadly, his uncle also beat him. When he could, Nunzio spent time in church praying to Jesus in front of the tabernacle. He trusted in Jesus always, and this gave him the strength to get through tough times.
Nunzio was injured while working in the blacksmith shop. He was in and out of the hospital
with a leg wound that never fully healed. He continued to pray throughout his ordeal. While in the hospital, he visited the other patients and tried to cheer them up. He had compassion for other people despite his own suffering. We, too, can trust in Jesus, who is always with us.
Nunzio died in 1836 when he was only 19 years old. He was canonized in 2018. He is an example for children, teens, and adults. He was a person of faith in all things who took refuge in knowing that Jesus loved him. He shared that love with others. His canonization
reminds us that all of us, no matter what our ages, are called to be saints.
What we can do
■ Talk about this saint. Who did he live with after his grandmother died? What kind of work did he do for his uncle? Where did Nunzio go to pray to Jesus? How does prayer get us through difficult times? Why was Nunzio in the hospital? How old was he when he died?
■ Pray in church. If possible, take your group of children to pray in front the tabernacle as St. Nunzio did. Stay a short time just so the children have the opportunity to pray to Jesus in this way. Remind the children that Jesus hears our prayers wherever we are.
■ Help the children with a service project. It can be in imitation of this saint, such as in cheering up people in the hospital. Check with the local children’s hospital for their needs and try to supply them, such as character self-adhesive bandages, craft supplies, birthday banners, crayons, coloring books, and card games.
Lord Jesus Christ, help us to trust always in you even when life is difficult, as St. Nunzio did. Although he endured so much suffering, he remained a person of faith. May we reach out to other people who need a caring word or gesture. Help us to love you as St. Nunzio did and know that you are with us in all times and places of our lives. Amen.
2 St. Francis of Paola
4 St. Isidore
21 St. Anselm
25 St. Mark
29 St. Catherine of Siena
1 St. Joseph the Worker
2 St. Athanasius
22 St. Rita of Cascia
26 St. Philip Neri
27 St. Augustine of Canterbury
Patricia Mathson, MRE, has years of experience as a director of religious education. She has authored many books, including her latest: 33 Mass Lessons and Activities for Children from Twenty-Third Publications.
This article was originally published in Catechist magazine, April/May 2020
PHOTO: PUBLIC DOMAIN