Celebrating Br. Joseph Rossi, SDB's Vocation

The Blessed Mother

By Amy Marinaro

Joseph Rossi first met Don Bosco in 1859 at the age of 24. After feeling a great connection to Don Bosco and his work, in February of the next year, he became the first youth to apply to join the Salesian Society after its founding in December 1859. On September 25, 1868, Br. Rossi professed his perpetual vows.

Br. Rossi’s responsibilities as a coadjutor brother included an array of tasks varying from running laundry and cleaning Don Bosco’s room and office to overseeing Oratory operations, local workshops, and a supply building. Br. Rossi’s work was crucial to the running of the Oratory, and he undertook many trips and tasks that were confidential in nature and known only to Don Bosco, Fr. Michael Rua, and himself. Br. Rossi’s importance was further emphasized by his appearance in several of Don Bosco’s dreams.

Br. Rossi lived a life of dedicated piety, poverty, and obedience. To ensure that he maintained his vow of poverty during trips, Br. Rossi never treated himself to anything that was not available at the Oratory. After Don Bosco passed away, Br. Rossi continued to further the Salesian mission under the direction of Fr. Michael Rua. When Br. Rossi could no longer work due to failing health and advanced age, he completely dedicated his time to prayer. On October 28, 1908, he passed away after suffering a stroke.

Based on the biography of Br. Joseph Rossi included in Profiles of Thirty-Three Salesian Coadjutor Brothers by Fr. Eugene Ceria, SDB (New Rochelle: Salesiana, 2005), pp. 13-17. See also Enzo Bianco, SDB, Don Bosco’s Lay Religious, trans. Peter Swain, SDB, 2 vols. (New Rochelle: Don Bosco Publications, 1984), 1:8-9; and Eugenio Valentini and Amedeo Rodinò, Dizionario biografico dei Salesiani (Turin, 1969), p. 245.

February 15, 2018 - 10:59am

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