Blessed Nicholas of Gesturi was born on 5 August 1882 in Gesturi (Sardinia), Italy, to a family of modest means. Given the name Giovanni at Baptism, he was orphaned at a young age and raised in the home of his older, married sister. After receiving his First Communion in 1896, he began to pray in a remarkable way, frequently receiving Holy Communion, mortifying himself and cultivating the spiritual life with rigorous detachment from even the licit attractions of his surroundings. From his love of nature he developed an uncommon nobility of spirit and refined sense of judgment. He seemed inclined towards the priesthood, but his family's poverty proved an insurmountable obstacle. After being cured of a painful rheumatic illness at the age of 29, Giovanni entered the Capuchins in Cagliari as a tertiary. Two years later he received the habit, taking the name of Friar Nicholas. After a year of novitiate he made his first profession in 1914 and his solemn profession on 16 February 1919. He spent his first 10 years of religious life in various friaries, where he served mostly as cook. In 1924 he returned to Cagliari, where he spent the next 34 years begging for the community. Every day of the year, from 1924 to 1958, Bro. Nicholas would walk modestly and silently through the streets of Cagliari, without asking for anything. But people soon realized that he was an exceptional soul and gifts of money or in kind would be offered spontaneously. Many confided in him or asked him to pray for spiritual or material favours. He was frequently called to the bedside of the sick at home or in hospitals. Extraordinary cures took place and it became known that God's powerful hand was working through this poor friar. He gave more than he received. His life, his way of walking and of presenting himself invited everyone to conversion, to prayer, to love and to the service of God and neighbor.
They said of him: "He was more sought than a seeker". His holiness was one of silence, which he only broke to point out the will of God. His conduct was marked by a lively sense of God's presence and by continuous union with the Lord. Through a Gospel life lived in penitence, Bro. Nicholas bore witness to Christ's message on the streets of a distracted and troubled city. He died on 8 June 1958.
(Source: L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English)
SAYINGS OF BLESSED NICHOLAS OF GESTURI
* "Let us pray... let us pray!"
* "It's what the superior wants... let it be for God's love!"
* "Charity is holiness!"
* "May the Lord reward your charity!"
* "Behold the Angels' Bread!"
* "O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us!"