Venerable Joseph Bartholomew Menochio
Augustinian Servant of God
Venerable Joseph Bartholomew Menochio (1741-1823) was an Augustinian teacher, preacher and Bishop who, in spite of great pressure to do otherwise, always remained faithful to Christ and to his Church.
Joseph Bartholomew was born in Carmagnola, Turin, Italy in 1741. He joined the Augustinians in las Marcas and was ordained a Priest in 1764.
At first, he was a professor of Theology, but later, responding to pastoral needs, dedicated himself to ministry, especially to preaching. He was given the name "the holy preacher" by the people to whom he ministered. He did many acts of penance in order to bring about the conversion of sinners.
In 1796, Joseph Bartholomew was named Coadjutor Bishop of Reggio Emilia. Soon afterwards, the French, who were occupying the city, forced him to leave the Diocese because, ironically, they identified him as a "foreigner".
For the next four years, he ministered in las Marcas, where there were few Priests to care for the spiritual needs of the people.
Following the election of Pope Pius VII, Joseph Bartholomew was named Papal Sacristan and Confessor to the Supreme Pontiff. Faced with antagonism from anti-Church civil authorities, he was constant in his faith and his service to the Church.
When the Pope was deported to France in 1809, Joseph Bartholomew stayed in Rome. He refused to take the oath of fidelity to the Emperor Napoleon, even though he faced great pressure to do so.
Joseph Bartholomew gave spiritual direction to many convents of religious sisters. He was a friend of Augustinian Blessed Stephen Bellisini, who, as Director of Novices, would frequently bring his Novices to visit. He worked diligently to restore the Augustinian houses which Napoleon had suppressed.
He died in 1823. His body was moved several times and now rests at Saint Augustine Church in Rome.
A decree attesting to his heroic practice of virtue was issued in 1991. The cause for his beatification and canonization is overseen by Josef Sciberras, O.S.A., the Augustinian Postulator of Causes.