Enrico Rebuschini was born on 25 April 1860 in Gravedona, on Lake Como, Italy, to a wealthy family. He was sensitive to the needy and would give away all he had. He felt called to the priesthood and the consecrated life but was firmly opposed by his father. After a year studying at Pavia University, he could no longer tolerate the anti-clerical environment and returned to Como. Military service, a diploma in accountancy and two years’ in his brother-in-law’s silk factory could not deter him from following his vocation. The Diocese sent him to Rome where he attended the Pontifical Gregorian University and made an excellent impression there. But becoming gravely ill he had to return home. He recovered and embarked on a life of rigorous asceticism. He clearly perceived his objective: the gift of himself to God, a life constantly oriented to the Lord. He also became aware of his neighbours’ needs, and for them resolved to develop the virtues of listening and service, seeing in them God himself.
Enrico had always had a strong inclination to care for the sick, so in 1887 he joined the novitiate of the Camillians, Servants of the Sick, in Verona. He was ordained a priest by the future Pope St Pius X on 14 April 1889. He was sent to Verona’s civil and military hospital (1891-1899) and then to the Cremona community where he lived until his death. From 1903 to 1937 he was administrator of the new St Camillus clinic and for 11 years, superior of his house. In all his free moments he would retire to pray; God had blessed him with the gift of contemplative prayer. As he walked through the streets of Cremona, people “saw” that he was holy and called him the “mystic of the streets”. During his 49 years as a priest, Fr Rebuschini served the sick, even to the very end. After celebrating Mass for a sick person he felt ill, and he died a few days later on 10 May 1938, from pneumonia.
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By Deacon F.K. Bartels
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