Father Francesco Demelas


Born at Lodine (Nuoro) on 28 May 1774.

Died in Cagliari on 30 May 1851.

He entered the novitiate on 3 December, 1796 and made his religious profession on 18 December the following year. After completing his religious studies, he was ordained priest on 10 August, 1804.

A zealous and fatherly carer by the bedside of the sick on account of his outstanding qualities of mind and heart, and was Novice Master in Rome from 1815 to 1817, in Cagliari from 1825 to 1828 and again between 1837 and 1843, and was appointed Novice Master in Sardinia on 27 June 1817.

At the 1818 Provincial Chapter he was elected Prior of Cagliari, and was given posts of trust both as secretary in the Canonical Visitations in the Sardinian Province and as president of Provincial Chapters.

Fr Demelas nurtured a great devotion to Our Lady: he used to invoke her very often with a single word that indicates all his filial trust and abandonment to her patronage: "Mamma!". He was also a great apostle of devotion to the Virgin Mother, especially under the title of Our Lady of Good Health, which he spread not only among the sick in Cagliari and the neighbouring villages, but also throughout Sardinia.

In his room there was a small window through which he could look into the chapel. There, on his knees, he would spend long hours, day and night, adoring the Blessed Sacrament: he used to say that among the many graces he had received from Our Lord was having been made 'His courtier'.

In his final years he was tormented by intermittent fevers and many other ailments that he endured with unswerving patience for the love of God. His death was as holy as his life had been in month of his birth: the month of May dedicated to Our Lady under whose maternal gaze had lived his whole life. Moments before he died, a light, believed to be miraculous, was seen to glow around his face, while another light appeared to hover over his hospital bed.

His mortal remains lie in the church dedicated to St Anthony, Abbot, adjacent to his hospital, beneath the pulpit, in the pillar between the chapels of Our Lady of Itria and Our Lady of Good Health, where they were translated on June 5, 1853.

Father Salvatore Collu, his fellow Brother and confidant, wrote a "Short account of the virtuous life of the late Most Reverend Father Francesco Demelas, priest of the Order of St John of God."


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