Birth. August 15, 1818, Palermo, Sicily. Of a noble family originally from Flanders. He was the eldest son of Marquis Luigi Dusmet and Marquise Maria Dragoneti. His last name is also listed as Dusmet Desmours. He was baptized on the same day of his birth at the cathedral of Palermo and received the names Giuseppe Maria Giacomo Filippo Lupo Domenico Antonio Rosolino Melchiorre Francesco di Paola Benedetto Gennaro. Melchiorre was chosen for family use. He had a sister, Marianna, and four brothers, Carlo, Tommaso, Diomede and Raffaele. When he was six years old, he was admitted to the school attached to the Benedictine abbey of S. Martino delle Scales, Monreale; his father made him return to Naples, where the family had settled, in 1832 out of concern that his son was going to follow an ecclesiastical vocation; and less than two years later he went back to the abbey when his father realized that he could not change his vocation.
Education. Entered the Order of St. Benedict in the Benedictine abbey of Montecassino; solemn profession, August 15, 1840, before Dom Eugenio Villaraut; he selected two of his baptismal names, Giuseppe Benedetto, as his religious name; in preparation for the taking of the vows, he went to a retreat preached by Michelangelo Celesia, O.S.B., future cardinal, who became his life long friend. Lector of philosophy and theology in the houses of studies of his order. Received the subdiaconate on October 11, 1840, from Domenico Balsamo, archbishop of Monreale, in the archiepiscopal palace; and the diaconate on November 15, 1840, from the same prelate in the same place.
Priesthood. Ordained, probably on September 18, 1841 in Monreale (1); he had to obtain a dispensation for not having yet reached the canonical age. Pastoral ministry, especially as preacher and confessor; also, professor of philosophy and theology, archivist and cantor; in 1845, he became secretary to Abbot Carlo Antonio Buglio and accompanied him on visitations to the abbeys of Caltanisetta and Catania. In 1847, the general chapter, held in Florence, transferred Abbot Buglio and his secretary to the abbey of S. Flavia in Catalnisetta. The general chapter named him prior of the abbey of Ss. Severino e Sossio, Naples, on June 12, 1850. The general chapter held in Montecassino in May 1852, named him prior and administrator of the abbey of S. Flavio in Caltanissetta. The general chapter held in Perugia in 1858 named him abbot of the monastery of San Nicolò l'Arena, Catania; he occupied the post until October 15, 1866, when it was confiscated, together with all the properties of the religious orders, by the new kingdom of Italy.
Episcopate. Elected archbishop of Catania, Sicily, February 22, 1867. Consecrated, March 10, 1867, basilica of S. Paolo fuori le mura, Rome, by Cardinal Antonino Saverio De Luca, assisted by Pietro Giannelli, titular archbishop of Sardi, and by Giuseppe Maria Papardo del Parco, C.R.S., titular bishop of Sinope. The Italian government returned the confiscated churches to the church in 1867; in that year, the seminary of Catania was also returned to the archbishop. It was not until 1878 that the government granted him the exequatur, which enabled him to take full possession of the archdiocese.
Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of February 11, 1889; received the red hat and the title of S. Pudenziana, February 14, 1889.
Death. April 4, 1894, near 10:30 p.m., in the archiepiscopal palace of Catania. Exposed in the metropolitan cathedral of Catania; the funeral took place on April 6, 1894, at 10 a.m., in the cathedral; and the burial, at 4:30 p.m., in the chapel of the Archconfraternity dei Bianchi in the cemetery of Catania (2). His remains were transferred to the metropolitan cathedral of Catania in May 1904 and placed in a monument designed by Architect Filadelfio Fichera; the effigy in marble was sculpted by Pasquale Leotta.
Beatification. On January 7, 1931, the cause for his beatification was introduced by Carmelo Patanè, archbishop of Catania; the postulator was Gaetano Fornaris, O.S.B.Cas. In 1935, an imposing monument to the late cardinal was unveiled in Catania by Cardinal Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster, O.S.B.Cas., archbishop of Milan and future blessed. On July 15, 1965, Pope Paul VI signed the decree on the heroic virtues of the Servant of God and proclaimed him a Venerable. Pope John Paul II beatified him on September 25, 1988.
Bibliography. Amadio, Gaetano. Il cardinale Dusmet. Catania : Crescenzio Galàtola, 1926; Bauersfeld, Richard. Josef Benedikt Kardinal Dusmet O.S.B. : Erzbischof von Catania. Obersteiermark, Austria : Druck und Verlag der Abtei Seckau, 1936. Responsibility: kurzer lebensabriss nach der italienischen biographie bearbeitet von P. Richard Bauersfeld; Catanen : Articoli et posizioni del Postulatore per la causa di beatificazione e canonizzazione del servo di Dio Giuseppe Benedetto Dusmet. Catholic Church. Archdiocese of Catania (Italy). Montecassino : [s.n.], 1931; Di Mauro, Salvatore. I chiostri e le strade di Dusmet. Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2012; Leccisotti, Tommaso Domenico. Il cardinale Dusmet. Catania : O.V.E., 1962; Lipari, Anselmo. Dusmet : una carità senza confini. Palermo : Abbazia di S. Martino delle Scale, 1988; Marra, Luigi Taddeo della. Il Collegio Sant' Anselmo in Roma e il Cardinale Dusmet. Catania : C. Galàtola, 1901; A Sicilian Borromeo. The Servant of God, Joseph-Benedict Dusmet, O.S.B. Archbishop of Catania and Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, 1818-1894. London : Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1938. Responsibility : by a Benedictine of Stanbrook Abbey; Un angelo delle anime : il servo di Dio, Giuseppe B. Dusmet, monaco, arcivescovo, cardinale : profili biografici. A cura della Postulazione della causa di beatificazione. Montecassino : A. Macioce & Pisani, 1935; Other title: Giuseppe Benedetto Dusmet; Zito, Gaetano. La cura pastorale a Catania negli anni dell'episcopato Dusmet (1867-1894). Con prefazione di Giacomo Martina. Acireale : Galatea, 1987. (Documenti e studi di synaxis).
Links. Portrait and biography, in Italian; portraits and biography, in Italian, Santi e Beati; his statue, piazza S.Francesco d'Assisi, Catania, Chi era costui; and his portrait by Emanuele Di Giovanni, Seminario Arcivescovile dei Chierici di Catania, Sicily, Italy.
(1) This is according to Leccisotti, Il cardinale Dusmet, pp. 21-22, n. 68.
(2) This is the text written in a parchment placed in his tomb, taken from Leccisotti, Il cardinale Dusmet, p. 602, n. 50:
Birth. September 22, 1815, Borbona, diocese of Rieti. Received the sacrament of confirmation, September 15, 1822.
Education. Received the clerical habit, November 8, 1828, and the insignias of the clerical character and the minor orders, July 29, 1832. Ordained to the subdiaconate, September 22, 1838, and to the diaconate, March 30, 1839. Obtained a doctorate in utroque iuris, both civil and canon law.
Priesthood. Ordained, September 21, 1839. In the diocese of Rieti, professor of moral theology in its seminary; canon of the cathedral chapter; vicar capitular, July 1867 until 1871; vicar-general.
Episcopate. Elected titular bishop of Caryste, August 12, 1881. Consecrated, August 14, 1881, church of SS. Trinità al Monte Pincio, Rome, by Cardinal Raffaele Monaco La Valletta, vicar general of Rome, assisted by Giulio Lenti, titular archbishop of Side, vice-gerent of Rome, and by Francesco Marinelli, O.S.A., titular bishop of Porfireone, sacristan of His Holiness. In the same ceremony was consecrated Sebastiano Galeati, bishop of Macerata et Tolentino, future cardinal. Named assessor of the Supreme S.C. of the Inquisition, November 13 (or 15), 1884. Canon of the chapter of the patriarchal Vatican basilica, January 13, 1885.
Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of February 11, 1889; received the red hat and the title of Ss. Bonifacio ed Alessio, May 27, 1889. Prefect of the S.C. of Indulgences and Relics, June 22, 1890.
Death. July 17 (1), 1892, Borbona. Exposed in the parish church of Borbona and buried in a chapel built by him in the cemetery of Borbona.
Bibliography. Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen VIII (1846-1903). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1979, pp. 34, 47 and 187; La Gerarchia Cattolica e la Famiglia Pontificia per l'anno 1903, Città del Vaticano : Tipografia poliglotta vaticana, 1903, p.192.
Link. Biography, in English.
(1) This is according to Ritzler, Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, VIII, 34; and to his biography in English, linked above; La Gerarchia Cattolica e la Famiglia Pontificia per l'anno 1903, p. 192, says that he died on July 18, 1892.
Birth. March 3, 1832, Viterbo. Son of Count Luigi Macchi and Countess Veronica Cenci-Bolognetti. Nephew of Cardinal Vincenzo Macchi (1826).
Education. La Sapienza University, Rome (doctorate in law).
Priesthood. Ordained, 1859. Privy chamberlain of His Holiness. Domestic prelate and referendary of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature of Grace, 1860. Vice-president of the hospice in the Baths of Diocletian, Rome. Judge of the tribunal of the Consulta. Vicar of Cardinal Luigi Amat di San Filippo e Sorso at the church of S. Lorenzo in Damaso. Vicar of Cardinal Costantino Patrizi Naro, archpriest of the patriarchal Lateran basilica. Apostolic visitor to the diocese of Poggio Mirteto. Consultor of the S.C. of the Council. Master of chamber of Pope Pius IX, 1875; confirmed by Pope Leo XIII, March 7, 1878. Majordome and prefect of the Sacred Apostolic Palace, August 15, 1886.
Cardinalate. Created cardinal deacon in the consistory of February 11, 1889; received the red hat and the deaconry of S. Maria in Aquiro, February 14, 1889. Administrator of the Abbey of Subiaco, April 25, 1890. Opted for deaconry of S. Maria in Via Lata, November 30, 1896. Secretary of Apostolic Briefs, December 22, 1896. Cardinal protodeacon, July 11, 1899. Participated in the conclave of 1903, which elected Pope Pius X. Crowned Pope Pius X on August 9, 1903.
Death. March 29 (or 30), 1907, after a twelve hour illness; he celebrated mass the morning before; complained of illness in the afternoon; and died the following day as a result of an apoplectic stroke, in Rome. Exposed in the church of S. Maria in Portico and buried in his family's tomb, Campo Verano cemetery, Rome.
Bibliography. Daniel, Charles; Paul-Marie Baumgarten; Antoine de Waal. Rome; le chef suprême l'organisation et l'administration centrale de l'église. Paris : Plon, 1900, pp. 159-161.
Links. His photograph by Giuseppe Felici, Museo di Roma, Rome; and his biography in English.
©1998-2013 Salvador Miranda.