There are times when little is known of an individual’s life. Adding to the mystery, a person can live such a quiet and unassuming life, that little attention is given them. At a glance, Aloysius Rabatà seems to fit that description. Yet his life presents strong evidence of a man who sought the living God and lived the fruit of that journey.
Aloysius was born in 1443 in Erice located in the Kingdom of Sicily. There is no information regarding his family, his early life, or what inspired his vocation to the Carmelite Order.
The Order was undergoing a reform led by one of the great prior generals, John Soreth. Aloysius would experience that reform when he entered Carmel at Annunziata at Trapani as an adolescent. His first years with the community are a mystery. He was later ordained to the priesthood. Evidently, his life as a friar demonstrated strong spiritual qualities that led to his appointment as prior of the community at Randazzo. He led by example through a strong life of prayer and penance.
As prior, Aloysius continued to get his hands dirty with manual labor among his brothers. He also begged at houses in the city to help support the community. He was dedicated to the poor, providing necessary resources for food and shelter. Aloysius was also a man of great mercy and forgiveness. During 1490, he was attacked by a man who shot an arrow at him striking him in the head. There is suspicion the act was possibly done by Antonio Catalucci. Aloysius had denounced the extravagant lifestyle of a local lord who was either Catalucci’s father or brother. Aloysius never revealed the name of his attacker in order to spare him a harsh punishment. He also forgave the man.
Aloysius died several months later in Trapani, on May 8, 1490, after suffering great pain. He was buried in the convent church in Randozza. His burial site became the site of many who were sick, and found healing through his intercession with God. Some of his remains were brought to Erice in 1617 and Trapani in 1640. His remains were placed under the altar of the Assumption in the Basilica di Santa Maria on August 13, 1913.
The process for his canonization began in 1533. Aloysius was beatified by Pope Gregory XVI on December 10, 1841. A year later, his office and Mass were approved. He is the patron of Erice and Trapani.
Father, you distinguished Blessed Aloysius Rabatà with extraordinary charity and patience in bearing injustice. May we honor his memory by showing love, as he did, even for our enemies, and thus merit an eternal reward. Grant this through Christ our Lord.