Fr. Bartholomew CANALE, Venerable

 Milan Dec 10, 1605 - Monza Jan. 1681

Prayer for his canonization

O Most Holy Trinity,
we kneel in adoration, and we beg you,
through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
to grant the glory of the altars
to the Venerable Bartholomew Canale,
who with great zeal exerted himself in the apostolic ministry
at the service of souls.
May the intercession of your Servant
be of help and consolation in our present needs.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.    


Author of ascetical works, spiritual director, exemplar of contemplative life John Anthony Canale was bom in Milan on December 10, 1605. His parents. Mark Canale of Milan, and Cornelia Carcano of Lodi, were middle class people involved in the lucrative market of silk. The Jesuits of the Brera took care of his secondary education. At the age of twelve he asked to enter the Barnabite Congregation since, as he said, it responded better to his personality. He was accepted in St. Alexander in Milan. In 1626 he entered the novitiate in Monza under the master Fr. John Alexander Ferrari. On the feast of St. Bartholomew the provincial Superior, Fr. Chiesa, invested him with the Barnabite habit and changed his name to Bartholomew. In a short time the young novice gave signs of great virtues.

He professed his vows on September 1, 1627. For the study of philosophy he went to Milan, Pavia, and Novara. In 1630, the year of the plague, he was ordained a priest in Galliate by the bishop of Novara, Msgr. Volpi. His first assignment was Monza, to last until 1660. Inclined as he was to mystical life, Monza was the best place for him. Although for him spiritual life had top priority, he did not shy away from any kind of work. Among other tasks he was also procurator and administrator for the community. During this time his mother died. Since her other sons had died during the plague, she bequeathed her estate to the Bamabites, and with the permission of the Superiors, she left a large amount of money to Bartholomew to visit the most famous shrines in Italy. Fr. Canale started his journey in 1659 together with Fr. Melchior Bonetti. Due to many difficulties and the presence of bandits, it was not always a most pleasant trip. With the help of Divine Providence they visited Genoa, Pisa, Florence, Rome, Arpino, and Naples. On the day they returned to Monza they met at the door Brother Caffesi who was about to leave the monastery. Fr. Canale told him: "Go back, put on the religious habit, since God has called you to his service." The Brother obeyed and he had a long and holy life in our Order.

 His two publications: "The Spiritual Diary," and "The Truth opened to the Christian" were the fruit of his long hours of meditation. His fervor for Divine Love was such that once he was found in ecstasy in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Because of his tendency toward private-ascetic life, the Carrobiolo in Monza was becoming too much of a distraction for him, so he asked to be transferred. The provincial Superior sent him to Cantu, which was considered the Siberia of the Congregation.

However, this peaceful solitude was not the plan of God, as he was right away elected master of the scholastics. He did a marvelous job and, according to Fr. Mondrone, he had the gift of introspection. His spiritual leadership brought the community to regular observance and eventually Fr. Canales selection as Superior.

At that time a famine was devastating that region. One day the Procurator ran to Fr. Canale in desperation since there was no more food. Fr. Canale invited him to pray and to trust in Divine Providence. The next day an anonymous supply of food was delivered sufficient for a whole year. A novice, Paul Carminati, was afflicted with TB and close to death. Through the intercession of Fr. Canale' s prayers and faith he was restored to health. Father himself became very sick and asked for the anointing. As soon as he was anointed he was healed. According to his own testimony he saw the Blessed Mother who assured him of his healing.

After five years he was elected Superior of the novitiate in Monza. Unfortunately his health was not that good and after three years he had to be removed. Fr. Canale then retired in his room, called his desert, to pray and meditate. It was during this period that he wrote his spiritual books to be translated in many languages.

The Lord used him for many marvelous things, such as the recovery of the Superior, Fr. Rescalli, unable to go to Rome for the General Chapter because of an illness.

 In 1671 he was appointed confessor of the Angelic Sisters in Milan. Again his health was his major obstacle. However, the Superiors wanted him back to Monza, although 75 years old, to sanctify the novices. Again he performed many miracles through his healing powers.

Fr. Canale died in the Lord at the age of 76. The funeral was a big triumph. His tomb immediately became a point for pilgrimages and a source of graces. The cause of beatification was introduced immediately in 1862, and on August 27, 1893 the heroic of his virtues was declared by the Hole See making him officially a Venerable.