Little Nicola D’Onofrio neatly hung his altar-boy cassock and surplice on their rack and exited the sacristy. His day had begun—as usual—with a two-mile walk to the church and the quiet duties of assisting Father at Mass. As he left the sacristy, looking forward to the walk home and breakfast, Nicola caught sight of a visiting priest waiting for him.
“You’re Nicola?” said the priest. “I’ve seen you serving at Mass the last few days. I’m a priest of St. Camillus. I wonder if you’d consider joining the Camillian students in Rome?”
Nicola’s heart beat quickly. “Yes, I would,” he said. “I’d like that very much.”
The Camillian priest’s invitation was the turning point in Nicola’s life. He knew that he wanted to be a priest, and the beautiful, self-sacrificing vows of the Camillians captivated him.
His parents had other ideas. Nicola was too young, for one—he was ten years old—and they wanted him to take over the farm, for another. But God’s call cannot be ignored, and eventually Nicola went to Rome.
For six years, he studied in the Camillian school. Joyfully, he made his temporary promises.
Then God introduced another turning point. Nicola experienced severe pain for months. At last he went to a doctor and was told he had cancer. Everyone prayed for his healing. His superiors sent him to Lourdes. Nicola himself asked for life and the beautiful path of the priesthood—but above all, he prayed for God’s will to triumph, whatever it might be.
After two years it was clear that Nicola’s life was slipping away. He was allowed to make his final vows early. Two weeks later—smiling and calling out to Jesus, Mary, and his patron, Thérèse of Lisieux, that he loved them—he passed away at the age of just twenty-one.
From an early age, Nicola’s uncommon virtue impressed those about him. Virtue is something we all need to grow in, and Uncommon Virtue: Everyday Methods for Attaining Spiritual Excellence helps us to pursue it in common things, like Nicola did. Filled with concrete examples from the lives of the saints, this book gives you the tools you need for sainthood. Get your copy today from The Catholic Company!