St. Joseph (Giuseppe) Moscati was born on July 25, 1880, in Benevento, Italy. He lived out the Gospels as a doctor, healing his patients’ illnesses and helping their souls. He saw the sacraments of confession and Communion as the “first medicine,” and is credited with bringing some of his patients back to the Church.
Joseph was the seventh of nine children, born to noble Italian parents. His father, a judge, was a man of strong faith. While Joseph inherited his intellect, his decision to study medicine came after his older brother Alberto fell from a horse and suffered incurable head trauma. Joseph helped care for his brother at home for many years, and in 1897, he enrolled in medical school at the University of Naples.
In 1903, Dr. Moscati graduated, and went on to practice at the Hospital for Incurables in Naples. He was known for his skill in diagnosing his patients, and many interns studied with him, hoping to learn his techniques.
Dr. Moscati would pray before seeing each patient, putting himself in the presence of God. He encouraged his patients to receive the sacraments often, especially before they underwent surgery.
Dr. Moscati was known for his charity, often donating his medical services to the poor, or paying for his patients’ prescriptions. He helped evacuate a nursing home when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 1906, moving the sickest patients just minutes before the building collapsed. During World War I, he treated nearly 3,000 soldiers.
He prayed for priests often, because, as he said, “They are easily forgotten by the living, since Christians often think that they do not need prayers.”
Dr. Moscati always carried a rosary in his pocket as a reminder to seek help from Mary and Jesus when he had to make important decisions.
Dr. Moscati died on April 12, 1927, of natural causes, in his office between appointments with patients. He was beatified on November 16, 1975, by Pope Paul VI, and canonized on October 25, 1987, by Pope John Paul II. His body is buried in Naples, Italy, in the Church of Gesu Nuovo.