Today, many doctors volunteer in
impoverished areas of the world,
especially through organizations
like Doctors Without Borders. People
from all walks of life contributed to
relief efforts after the terrorist attacks of
September 11, 2001, and helped with
the human suffering left by Hurricane
Katrina. Such a selfless spirit has propelled
the work of saints around the
globe. Doctors who assist in relief
efforts can be inspired by St. Giuseppe
Moscatiís humble roots and outstanding
intellect proved a great combination.
He became a doctor at the
age of 23, and later a professor at the
University of Naples. He never married,
but devoted all his time to helping
others. He is the first modern
physician to be canonized.
It may be easy for us to separate our
personal from our professional lives.
Sometimes it may seem O.K. that our
attitudes at home and at work differ.
Work can be seen as an obligation.
Moscatiís personal life, however, was
full of faith and love, and he took care
to incorporate that into his professional
life as well.
Love Knows No Boundaries
When I was in high school, my parish
youth group had a mission trip every
summer. During the time I was exposed
to both impoverished conditions and
daily Mass, I felt close to God. On the
trip, it seemed easier to smile at
strangers and give selflessly. When I
returned home to the routine, I found
it harder to live my faith.
Eventually, I asked myself why the
only time that I truly gave of myself
was when I traveled to poor areas in distant
cities. Why did that matter? I realized
that I can give of myself anywhere.
Dr. Moscati knew this well.
When Vesuvius erupted in 1906, Dr.
Moscati immediately traveled to the
area and evacuated the patients from a
nearby hospital. Because of his efforts,
all of them were brought to safety
before the hospital collapsed. Again, in
1911, he used his position as a hospital
administrator to help control a
As a doctor, Moscati was said to
have been as interested in his patientsí
spiritual well-being as he was in their
physical care. He was known for his
love of the poor and his belief that
every human being should use his or
her gifts not for personal benefit, but
to better the lives of those in need.
July 25, 1880
Born in Benevento, Italy
1888 Moved to Naples, Italy
1903 Earned medical/surgical degree
April 12, 1927 Died in his office in Naples
October 25, 1987 Canonized by Pope John Paul II
Giuseppe Moscatiís example from 80
years ago can still easily be admired
and emulated today. In applying his
personal beliefs in his professional life,
he allowed himself to be a true servant
of God. He always sought to bring
Christ into the field of medicine
through his piety and selflessness.
Through Moscatiís story, I am
reminded that my talents are God-given.
When I use them to help others,
I am using all of my potential. I can
turn to Giuseppe Moscati for a heartfelt
example of balancing two aspects of
my life in perfect harmony.
Next: Jeanne Jugan