At the end of the last century, a handsome, intelligent, rich young boy fell in love with the sky. And he put all his gifts at the service of this passion while remaining a normal boy, very much of his time, who loved animals, Pokémon, video games, detective films and general culture games on television. He evangelized many people around him, starting with his own family, and always remained very attentive to the poor.
At the age of 7, he already participated in the daily Eucharist. At age 13, he mounted an exhibit on Eucharistic miracles that still circulates around the world today. He used his incredible computer knowledge to evangelize. In October 2006, aged only 15, this boy died of leukemia.
At his funeral mass, to the great astonishment of his parents, the church was full and there was even a crowd outside, because not everyone had been able to get in.
A woman, suffering from breast cancer, was healed during the mass. His reputation for holiness then spread like wildfire. A committee was set up with the parish priest, priests of his school and other people, to ask for the opening of his canonization process. The diocesan process began in 2013 and culminated in his beatification on October 12, 2020 in Assisi.
This extraordinary boy is called Carlo Acutis. He was born on May 3, 1991 in London, where his parents were staying for professional reasons. The parents are not particularly religious, but like many Italians, they request baptism for Carlo. It cannot therefore be said that the young Carlo was immersed in an environment favorable to the development of his faith. However, he will discover her, among other things, in contact with the nannies who are responsible for watching over him, and in particular thanks to Beata, a young Polish woman who took care of him for four years. As her mother points out:
Normally, in the families of saints, there is always the father or the mother who are exemplary, like the parents of Saint Thérèse, for example. In Carlo’s case, he was the one who brought us to faith!
“Carlo has always been ahead of the children of his age”continues Antonia Acutis. “He was three, four years old when he started asking very deep questions. He was very attracted to the Church, Jesus, the Virgin Mary…” Clearly, something special is happening, of the order of grace, in Carlo’s childish heart. At the age of six, for example, Carlo confided to his parents that he heard an inner voice that said to him:
Not self-love, but the glory of God.
Even if Carlo’s extraordinary spiritual journey remains a mystery, little episodes like this show us how much God’s grace works at his child’s heart. The grace of baptism, received just after his birth, unfolds in him in a very special way.
At the age of only four, Carlo lost his maternal nonno (grandfather). Shortly after his death, he tells his family that this grandfather appeared to him to ask him to intercede for him because he is in purgatory. This event had a profound effect on Carlo and showed him the importance of the sky. From that moment on, he fervently prayed for the release of his grandfather and, in particular, attended mass which he believed to be “the most important prayer one can make to help souls get out of purgatory”. Then, he sets himself the goal of helping other souls in purgatory, the members of his deceased family, his friends, his teachers, the priests and religious he has known. His child’s soul thus discovers an important dimension of the communion of saints: through our prayers, we can help other people to be saved.
Carlo’s first communion at the age of 7 marks a real turning point in his life. From that moment on, he wanted to participate in the daily Eucharist. Like little Thérèse in her time, Carlo is looking for a safe way to go to heaven. This path he finds in the Eucharist. He often repeats:
The Eucharist is my highway to heaven!
These extraordinary words are undoubtedly one of the phrases that best sum up his short life.
Rajesh is the servant of the Acutis house. He is of Hindu origin, of the Brahman caste. He knew Carlo from the age of four and is still working for the Acutis family today. Carlo called him “my faithful friend, Rajesh” and her testimony brings Rajesh to baptism and confirmation.
The generosity of saints like Francis of Assisi or Anthony of Padua appeals to Carlo who tries to imitate them. He takes advantage of the opportunities that are offered to him to exercise this charity. One day, for example, while walking his dog, he encounters a sleeping beggar. He then returns home and asks his grandmother to prepare something to eat for the poor. Then he returns to deposit the food next to the sleeping man and leaves a euro of his pocket money so that he can find it when he wakes up. The beggars who knew him testify to the delicacy of his generosity and many are those who will attend his funeral.
Carlo is a gifted boy and an autodidact. He learns, for example, to play the saxophone by simply buying a manual and practicing on his own. But it is in computer science that his genius is most evident. His mother says that he was offered computer books well above his age, which he read and used with his computer. As a teenager, he created a website for his parish and even helped build the site of thePontifical Academy Cultorum Martyrum of the Vatican. Carlo also likes to make small videos with his camera that he publishes on YouTube. Just before his death, he had just completed the volunteer site of the Jesuit college where he was studying.
What is closest to Carlo’s heart is to make the Eucharist known and understood and this is the reason why he is embarking on the creation of an exhibition on Eucharistic miracles. “According to him, explains his mother, it was an excellent way of making people understand that in the Eucharist, it is really the Body and Blood of our Lord, that it is really he who comes to us in this sacrament. He wanted people to realize the immense gift God gives us by giving himself to us in the Eucharist. » Carlo finished the last panels of his exhibition, which numbered one hundred and forty, shortly before his death. The inauguration took place on the Solemnity of Saint Francis of Assisi, on October 4, 2006. Carlo could not take part because the illness that was to kill him had already declared itself… Today, this exhibition is known in the entire world. It has been translated into many languages and still circulates on all continents.
Towards the beginning of October 2006, Carlo fell ill. He told his parents:
“I offer all the sufferings that I will endure for the Pope and the Church, not to go to purgatory but directly to heaven. »
Type M3 leukemia is diagnosed, the worst form of this disease, considered incurable. He is hospitalized and dies on October 12 at 6:45 a.m., the day before the last appearance of Fatima, whom Carlo loved so much.
Passionate about heaven, Carlo left to join his Lord. Today, his body rests in Assisi, the city he loved so much. He often said:
All are born as originals, but many die as photocopies.
What astonishing words from the mouth of a teenager under 15! It is often said that adolescence is the time of mimicry, the period of life when we try to distance ourselves as little as possible from the group, when we are afraid of not being like the others. Carlo has never been like that. He was born and died as one ” original “. Carlo shows us that holiness is the only way to remain the original that God created out of love. Indeed, what is it to become a saint? It is simply to become more and more the one that God created, to remain faithful to his origin. It is finding one’s deep identity in God’s plan for us. Carlo was born like an original, he lived listening to God like an original and he died like an original. This is why the Church beatified him.