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Historical Archives Curiosities and news Giuseppe Massaruti: religious, professor, diarist

Giuseppe Massaruti: religious, professor, diarist

Our column has already recalled the figure of Fr Carlo Massaruti SJ and his brother Giuseppe, telling you the story of the handkerchief of Pius X given to Fr Carlo and now in our institute. Today we delve into the figure of Fr Giuseppe, Fr Carlo’s older brother. His life as a religious, spiritual guide and teacher is well known.

Born in Rome on 25 October 1875, he entered the Company on 29 October 1894 and was ordained a priest in 1908, one year after his brother Charles; he took his last vows in 1912. Joseph was a professor of literature at the Massimo Institute for many years, devoted to his teaching and to his pupils, as the numerous photos sent by former pupils to the Jesuit from the front or on the occasion of their wedding, always accompanied by an affectionate dedication, testify.

A life-long diary

Less well known, however, is the Jesuit’s habit of keeping a diary in which he recounted the highlights of his life, historical events and personal memories. The series of diaries has been preserved first at the Massimo Institute, then in our historical archive and gives us not only the voice of Fr. Giuseppe on his life, on his brother Carlo and on the spiritual assistance he gave to his pupils, but also opens a window on Rome between the end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century.

A lucid and precise narrative voice, more affectionate and prone to tenderness in remembering their relatives and the life of their family. Giuseppe and Fr. Carlo were in fact nephews of Andrea Busiri Vici, a famous architect highly appreciated in Rome in the second half of the 19th century.

In each diary a small surprise

The diaries are characterised by the presence of photos, of family members and former pupils, but also by portraits and caricatures, small mementos such as flowers and leaves inserted between the pages to dry, sacred images and memories dear to the Jesuit.

Full of sorrow are the pages recalling the untimely death of his brother, whose photo Fr Joseph does not fail to include; Fr Joseph died in his institute in 1958 surrounded by the affection of his confreres and his pupils, some of whom still write to us sixty years later to ask where his father’s remains rest in honour of his memory on 1 November. Joseph rests, together with his brother Carlo, in the Chapel of the Society of Jesus in the Verano Monumental Cemetery in Rome.

The Jesuit’s life has been recalled in a monograph, made possibile also with thethe contribution of the diaries granted for reading at the time by the Massimo Institute, edited by Gabrio Lombardi, Da te consolato con te consolatore, Milan, Ancora, 1975.

Maria Macchi