Pope Francis Sets New Saint as an Example who had a "...profound union with the Lord: constant prayer, prolonged Eucharistic adoration, the prayer of the rosary." Audience for Artemide Zatti Canonization

Paul VI Hall
Saturday, October 8, 2022

Dear Salesian brothers and sisters, good morning and welcome!
I thank the Rector Major for introducing him; I greet the members of the General Council, the Cardinals and the Salesian Bishops - there are so many! -; I am happy to welcome the pilgrims from Boretto, the birthplace of Artemide Zatti, and those from Argentina and the Philippines; I greet the members of the Salesian Family from many countries of the world, in a special way the Salesian brothers. And a special greeting to the person who has received the grace of healing through the intercession of the Blessed, whom I will have the joy of canonizing tomorrow. I would like to recall the figure of him from four points of view.
First of all, as a migrant.
The Salesians arrived in Argentina in 1875 and initially carried out their apostolate in Buenos Aires. In Buenos Aires they didn't go to the most important neighborhood, they went to Boca, where there were the Communists, the Socialists, the priest-eaters! The Salesians went there, and in other places, especially in favor of Italian emigrants. Artemide met the Salesians in Bahía Blanca, where in 1897 he and his family had come from Italy. Unfortunately, many migrants lost the values ​​of faith, all caught up in work and the problems they encountered. But the Zatti, thank God, were an exception. Participation in the life of the Christian community, cordial relations with the priests, common prayer at home, the frequency of the sacraments did not fail. Artemis grew up in an excellent Christian environment and, thanks to the guidance of Father Carlo Cavalli, he matured the choice for the Salesian life.
A second aspect, "kinship": he was "kinsman of all the poor"; this is the relationship of Zatti. The tuberculosis that struck him at the age of twenty seemed to have to put an end to every dream, but, thanks to the healing obtained through the intercession of Mary Help of Christians, Artemis dedicated his entire life to the sick, especially the poorest, the abandoned and the discarded. The hospitals of San José and Sant'Isidro were a precious and unique health resource for the care above all of the poor of Viedma and the Rio Negro region: Zatti's heroism made them places of irradiation of God's love, where health care becomes an experience of salvation. In that Patagonian patch of land, where the life of our Blessed flows, a page of the Gospel was rewritten: the Good Samaritan found in him heart, hands and passion, above all for the little ones, the poor, the sinners, the least. Thus a hospital has become the "Inn of the Father", a sign of a Church that wants to be rich in gifts of humanity and grace, home to the commandment of love of God and brother, a place of health as a pledge of salvation. It is also true that this enters into the Salesian vocation: the Salesians are the great educators of the heart, of love, of affectivity, of social life; great educators of the heart.
The hospital and the homes of the poor, visited night and day by traveling by bicycle, were the frontier of his mission. He lived the total donation of himself to God and the consecration of all his strength to the good of his neighbor. The intense work and tireless availability for the needs of the poor were animated by a profound union with the Lord: constant prayer, prolonged Eucharistic adoration, the prayer of the rosary. Artemis is a man of communion, who knows how to work with others: nuns, doctors, nurses; and with his example and his advice he forms people, shapes consciences, converts hearts.
Thirdly, we see him as a Salesian brother. We remember the beautiful testimony given by him in 1915 in Viedma, on the occasion of the inauguration of a monument to the memory of Father Evasio Garrone, a Salesian missionary and considered by Artemide to be an outstanding benefactor. On that occasion he made this declaration: "If I am well, I am healthy and in a position to do a little good to my neighbor who is sick, I owe it to Father Garrone, Doctor, who seeing my health worsen day by day, being I suffer from tuberculosis with frequent hemoptysis, he told me decisively that, if I did not want to end up like many others, I would make a promise to Mary Help of Christians to always remain at his side, helping him in the care of the sick, that he, trusting in Mary, would give me healed. BELIEVE, because I knew by reputation that Mary Help of Christians helped him in a visible way. PROMISI, because it was always my desire to be of help to my neighbor in something. And, having listened to God his servant, HEALED ». I believed, I promised, I healed. Three words written there.
This regained life is no longer his property: he feels that it is all for the poor. The three verbs "believed, promised, healed" express the blessing and consolation that touch the life of Artemis. He lives this mission in communion with the Salesian confreres: he is the first to be present at community moments and with his joy and sympathy he animates the fraternity. The fourth and final feature that I would like to highlight: he is an intercessor for vocations. 
And I have experienced this. I tell you a personal experience. When I was Provincial of the Jesuits of Argentina, I got to know the story of Artemide Zatti, I read his biography and I entrusted to him the request to the Lord for holy vocations to lay consecrated life for the Society of Jesus. Since we began to pray through his intercession, the young coadjutors increased significantly; and they were persistent and very busy. And so I testified of this grace that we have received. And in this regard, I would like to emphasize the importance of the vocation of the brothers. I saw it in the Society of Jesus and I know that the same can be said of the Salesians. The brothers have a special charism which is nourished in prayer and work. And they are good for the whole body of the Congregation. They are people of pity, they are cheerful, hardworking. They do not see "inferiority complexes", no, they are mature, they do not feel complexed by the fact that they are not priests, and they do not aspire to become deacons, no, brothers; they don't want promotions: brothers, because all the wealth is there. They are aware of their vocation and so they want it (cf. Letter to Fr Cayetano Bruno, 1986). 
To you, dear brother coadjutors, thank you, thank you! May you too be always grateful for the gift of this call, which bears a special witness to consecrated life, and thus offer it to young people as a form of evangelical life at the service of the little ones and the poor. Thanks to all of you, brothers and sisters, for coming to celebrate the canonization of Artemide Zatti. I cordially bless you, even those who have not been able to come due to age or health conditions, or the condition of their pockets! I bless everyone. And I ask you to please pray for me. Thank you.
Source: Vatican.va