PARSIPPANY The Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth here celebrated with great joy the canonization of the order’s founder, St. Ludovico of Casoria.
Pope Francis canonized the Italian priest on Nov. 23. To mark the occasion, Bishop Serratelli was main celebrant of a Mass of Thanksgiving, which was concelebrated by three bishops — Bishop Emeritus Rodimer, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Donato of Newark and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn — and several diocesan and order priests. The Mass took place in St. Christopher Church here May 3.
Relatives of St. Ludovico were present at the Mass including the saint’s nephew, Father Luigi Esposito of Baltimore, as well as Mother Clara Capasso, mother general of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth and Mother Enrichetta Casa former mother general, who both traveled from Italy to be present at the Mass.
Mother Lilly Perapadan, delegate general of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth in Parsippany, said, “It was a beautiful celebration in thanksgiving for St. Ludovico, who gave his life for the poor. His charism to serve those in need inspired our charism.”
St. Ludovico entered the Franciscan order in 1832 and began serving in Naples, Italy, near his hometown. According to Mother Lilly his dream was to help people around the world. He fulfilled that dream by helping children experiencing slavery in Africa. He also opened institutions for the deaf and mute and worked to provide care for the elderly members of his own order. In 1859, he founded the Gray Friars of Charity and three years later, he founded the Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth, whom he placed under the protection of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, patron of the order.
Today, the Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth serve in Italy, the United States, Ethiopia, India, Panama and the Philippines. In Parsippany, the sisters run St. Elizabeth Nursery and Montessori School. There are currently 25 Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth serving the Paterson Diocese and nearby dioceses. The sisters in the diocese come from many countries, including those where the order has missions and sisters from Vietnam and Korea.