Second of nine children born to Pasquale, a pasta factory manager, and Marie Marseglia Errico, who worked weaving plush. A good child, pious, always ready to help his father at work, or his mother with his younger siblings. He felt a call to the priesthood at age fourteen. He was turned away by the Capuchins and Redemptorists due to his youth. Studied at a diocesan seminary in Naples, Italy from age sixteen, walking the five miles to class each day, and was ordained on 23 September 1815 in Naples.
School teacher for twenty years. Parish priest at the church of Saint Cosmas and Damian. Known for his devotion to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and ministry to the sick, his self-imposed austerties and penances. He made yearly retreats to the Redemptorist house in Pagani, Italy.
During his retreat in 1818, Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori appeared to him in a vision, and told him that God wanted Gaetano to build a new church, and to found a new religious congregation. While Gaetano initially received strong support from the local people, it faded in the face of fund-raising and work, and it wasn’t until 9 December 1830 that he dedicated and blessed the church Our Lady of Sorrows at Secondigliano; it has since become one of Italy‘s most popular pilgrimage sites.
Nearby he built a small house for himself and a lay-brother who took care of the church; this was the beginning of the Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. The Missionaries received local approval on 14 March 1836, approval by the Congregation of Bishops on 30 June 1838, royal approval on 13 May 1840, and papal approval by Blessed Pope Pius IX on 7 August 1846. Gaetano served as first Superior General.
His beatification miracle occurred in southern Italy in January 1952 and involved a man with a perforated stomach wall. Just before emergency surgery, his wife slipped a relic of Father Gaetano under his pillow, and together they prayed for his intercession. His health began to improve immediately, and he was soon healed without medical intervention.
- Hagiography Circle
- L’Osservatore Romano [english]
- L’Osservatore Romano [italiano]
- L’Osservatore Romano [español]
- Missionari dei Sacri Cuori
- Missionari dei Sacri Cuori di Gesù e di Maria
- Santi e Beati
Let us kindle the love of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in the hearts of all people. - Saint Gaetano