Friar Domenico LO VERME was a religious brother of the Friars Minor Conventual. He was born in Canicattì, (Sicily) Italy, on October 29, 1641 into a humble peasant family. His parents, Filippo and Agata FERRO, gave him religious instruction. His fellow countrymen would soon bear witness to his life of faith, his goodness and his industriousness.
When Domenico was a teenager, he dreamed of following the example of St. Francis of Assisi. However, entering the Franciscan Order would not be easy. It was only because of his tenacity that he was ever able to realize his religious vocation. When Domenico’s father died, it fell to Domenico, as the eldest son, to first provide for his large, poor family. When he entered the Conventual Franciscan Order, he spent a few years in the Friary of San Francesco in his home town. He took on the humblest and most burdensome offices, where he refined his virtues, adding to his growing reputation as a man of God. He was transferred to the friary in the Sicilian town of Castronovo and was admitted to the novitiate. In 1675, he was granted a special papal dispensation, allowing him to profess religious vows.
He returned to Canicattì and was later sent to the Sicilian town of Calatafimi. He demonstrated his splendid virtues wherever he went. In 1693, he was transferred to the Friary of San Francesco d’Assisi in Palermo and remained there for twenty years, until his death on March 21, 1713. When the Venerable died, crowds of people visited his body, which remained warm and flexible for twenty-four hours. The people came to whisper a prayer to him, to ask him for a favor, to see him one last time or touch him in devotion. Some competed for a piece of his habit or some other relic they might take home. Today, his mortal remains are preserved in the Basilica of San Francesco di Assisi in Palermo.
The findings of the Informative Process give witness to the heroic sanctity of his life. They describe Friar Domenico as an exceptional saint and a great miracle worker. He would walk through the town each day to beg and give alms and thus the streets of Palermo became a place of mission and charitable acts. The admirable life of the Venerable prompted the Church in Palermo to begin the Ordinary Informative Process as early as August 11, 1744, during which many witnesses came forward to attest to the great virtues of Friar Domenico. The Sacred Congregation of Rites recognized the validity of the findings of the Diocesan Informative Process and issued the Decree for the introduction of the cause on September 2, 1758. On December 20 of that year, dimissorial letters were sent to the Archbishop of Palermo in order to start the Apostolic Process and collect further testimony about the Servant of God, his virtues and the miracles he worked. It is hoped that the “process” for this humble and great son of St. Francis, a true gem of the Sicilian family and Church, will soon be concluded.
Friar Damian-Gheorghe PĂTRAȘCU
From: ANGELO LO VERME, Biografia del Venerabile Fra Domenico Lo Verme