Bl. Fr. Justin Maria Russolillo, The Founder of the Society of Divine Vocations
Bl. Fr. Justin was born at Pianura, in Naples, Italy on January 18th, 1981. From the very childhood it was evident that he was born and called for God and his people. After the school life Justin joined the diocesan seminary aspiring to become a priest of God. He had to undergo several trials during the seminary life. His frail health and poverty were always in front against his divine call. Later it was very clear that all these hurdles were to fulfill the words of Sirach, “My child when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for testing. … For gold is tested in the fire, and those found acceptable in the furnace of humiliation”. (Sir 2, 1, 3). However by the grace of God he was ordained to the priesthood on 20th September, 1913. On the very same day he was blessed by God to start and to have the first experience of community life. During his seminary life he had made the promise that he will work hard for not losing any vocation in future. He showed an extraordinary zeal to protect and promote vocations to priesthood and religious life. It was his vision that poverty should not be an impediment to for no one to enter priesthood and religious life. Once he was ordained he started more zealously to achieve his goal. As a result there originated according to God’s will two religious congregations namely Vocationist Fathers and Vocatioinist Sisters respectively for men and women. He was known for his apostolic zeal, piety, and docility. Fr. Justin was taken to the bosom of the Heavenly Father on August 2nd, 1955 at Vocationist Fathers Motherhouse in Pianura. On December 18th, 1997 Pope John Paul II recognized Fr. Justin’s heroic virtues and proclaimed him a Venerable. On July 1st, 2010 Pope Benedict XVI signed the decree of validity of the miracle by the intercession of Fr. Justin to Ida Meloro of East Hanover, New Jersey (USA). And he was beatified on May 7th, 2011 at his birth place, Pianura (Naples, Italy).