Giuseppe Moscati

Giuseppe Moscati

Benevento, Provincia di Benevento, Campania, Italy
Death 12 Apr 1927 (aged 46)
Naples, Città Metropolitana di Napoli, Campania, Italy
Burial Naples, Città Metropolitana di Napoli, Campania, Italy
Plot Beneath The Altar Of The Visitation.
Memorial ID 21804138 · View Source
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Saint Giuseppe Moscati was an Italian doctor, scientific researcher and University Professor noted both for his pioneering work in biochemistry and for his piety.

The sixth of nine children born to a noble Beneventene family which came from the village of Santa Lucia in Serino, near Avellino, his father Francesco was a well-known lawyer and magistrate in the area. His mother, Rosa De Luca dei Marchesi di Roseto was of noble birth.

Giuseppe was born in Benevento in 1880. Moving with his family to Naples in 1884, he would spend much of the rest of his life in the city. After finishing his elementary schooling in 1889, he entered into the Liceo Vittorio Emmanuele in Naples, where among his Professors was Vulcanologist Giuseppe Mercalli. In 1892, his brother Alberto, received incurable head trauma in a fall from a horse during his military service. Observing the care which Alberto received at home inspired in Giuseppe an interest in medicine, which he pursued after graduating from the Liceo in 1897. It was in the same year that his father died. Moscati received his doctorate from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Naples in 1903. The subject of his thesis was hepatic urogenesis.

Immediately upon receiving his degree, Moscati joined the staff of the Ospedali Riuniti degli Incurabili, eventually becoming its administrator. During this time he continued to study, conducting medical research when not performing his duties at the Hospital. Already recognized for his commitment to his duties, he won further recognition for his actions in the aftermath of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on April 8, 1906. One of the hospitals for which Moscati was responsible, at Torre del Greco, was located a few miles from the volcano's crater. Many of its patients were elderly, and many were paralytics as well. Moscati oversaw the evacuation of the building, getting them all out just before the roof collapsed due to the ash. He sent a letter to the general director of the Neapolitan hospital service, insisting on thanking those who had helped in the evacuation, yet not mentioning his own name.

When cholera broke out in Naples in 1911, Moscati was charged by the Civic Government with performing public health inspections, and with researching both the origins of the disease and the best ways to eradicate it. This he did quickly, presenting his suggestions to city officials. To his satisfaction, most of these ideas were put into practice by the time of his death. Also in 1911, Moscati became member of the Royal Academy of Surgical Medicine and received his doctorate in physiological chemistry.

Besides his work as researcher and doctor, Moscati was responsible for overseeing the directions of the local Institute of Anatomical Pathology. In the institute's autopsy room, he placed a Crucifix inscribed with Chapter 13, verse 14 of the Book of Hosea, "Ero mors tua, o mors". The doctor's mother died of diabetes in 1914. As a consequence, Moscati became one of the first Neopolitan doctors to experiment with insulin in his treatment of the disease.

During the Great War he tried to enroll in the armed forces but was rejected. The military authorities felt that he could better serve the country by treating the wounded. His hospital was taken over by the military and he himself visited close to 3,000 soldiers. In 1919 he was made director of one of the local men's schools and also continued to teach. In 1922 Moscati was given a libra docenza in clinical medicine which allowed him to teach at Institutes of Higher Education.

Moscati died in the afternoon of April 12, 1927. He had attended mass that morning, receiving communion as he always did and spent the remainder of the morning at the hospital. Upon returning home he busied himself with patients until around three, after which, feeling tired, he sat down in an armchair in his office. Soon after this, he died aged only 46.

Initially buried in the Cemetery of Poggio Reale, three years later he was exhumed and reinterred in the church of Gesù Nuovo. A marble stone used to mark his grave. At a later date, in 1977, his remains where once again exhumed, placed in a special bronze urn and moved next to the altar of Saint Francis Xavier in the same church. Later the urn was interred underneath the altar of the Visitation.

His scientific research notwithstanding, Moscati remained true to his faith his entire life, taking a vow of chastity and practicing charity in his daily work. He viewed his work as a way of alleviating suffering, not as a way of making profits, and would retire regularly for prayer. He also attended mass daily and would sometimes use a patient's faith, as well as the sacraments, in his treatments. Moscati also refused to charge the poor for their treatment, and was known to sometimes send a patient home with a prescription and a 50-lire note in an envelope.

It was claimed even before his death that Moscati was a miracle worker. Some said that he could accurately diagnose and prescribe for any patient merely by hearing a list of his symptoms, and that he was responsible for impossible cures. Reports of his good works continued well after his death, with further reports that he interceded in impossible cases. Consequently, he was beatified by the Pope Paul VI on November 16, 1975, and was canonized on October 25, 1987, by Pope John Paul II. His canonization miracle involved the case of a young ironworker dying of leukemia. The young man's mother dreamed of a doctor wearing a white coat, who she identified as Moscati when shown a photograph. Not long after this, her son was cured and returned to work.

Moscati was the first modern doctor to be canonized. His liturgical memory is celebrated on November 16.

  • Created by: Eman Bonnici
  • Added: 28 Sep 2007
  • Find a Grave Memorial 21804138
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  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Giuseppe Moscati (25 Jul 1880–12 Apr 1927), Find a Grave Memorial no. 21804138, citing Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo, Naples, Città Metropolitana di Napoli, Campania, Italy ; Maintained by Eman Bonnici (contributor 46572312) .