Blessed Mark of Aviano
Also known as
• Carlo Domenico Cristofori • Marco D'Aviano • Marco of Aviano
Son of Marco Pasquale Cristofori and Rosa Zanoni. Educated at home and at the Jesuit school in Gorizia, Italy. He was especially fascinated with stories of the saints. At age 16 he left home to walk to Crete, where Venice was at war with the Ottoman Turks; he planned to preaching Christianity to Muslims and take his chance on martyrdom. After a few days of hiking, he stopped at the Capuchin house in Capodistria (modern Kopar, Slovenia), seeking food and shelter. The brothers took him in, fed him, prayed with him, and advised him to return home, which he did.
His time at the monastery affected Carlo deeply, and in 1648 he became a Capuchin novice at Conegliano, Italy. He made his formal vows in 1649, taking the name Mark. Ordained on 18 September 1655 at Chioggia, Italy. He lived several years in the cloister, but in 1664 he was called to missionary duty, preaching throughout Italy. Elected superior of the Belluno, Italy house in 1672. Elected superior of the Oderzo, Italy house in 1674.
On 8 September 1676, while preaching at a monastery in Padua, Italy, Mark prayed over Sister Vincenza Francesconi, who had been bed-ridden for 13 years; she was miraculously healed. Word spread, and while he continued preaching, Mark was soon beseiged by people seeking miracles; many were healed, and many were brought to the faith.
His fame led his to become counselor on religious and political matters to Leopold I, emperor of Austria for nearly two decades. Papal legate and Apostolic Nuncio to Austria for Pope Blessed Innocent XI. He secured the release of Vienna from the Ottoman Turks on 12 September 1683. Travelled with the army from 1683 to 1689 as advisor and chaplain to soldiers of all ranks. He helped negotiate the liberation of Buda on 2 September 1686, and of Belgrade on 6 September 1688. He worked as a peacemaker throughout Europe, bringing unity to warring Catholic powers, educating them on the threat posed by the Ottoman's - and never letting them forget that all wise counsel was given by God.
Legend has it that when the Ottomans fled before the European army, they left behind a lot of their strong, bitter coffee. The Christian soldiers, to make this liberated coffee more palatable, mixed it with honey and milk; they named the drink after Mark's Order, the Capuchins, and thus cappuccino was created.
17 November 1631 at Aviano, Italy as Carlo Domenico Cristofori
13 August 1699 of cancer in Vienna, Austria
27 April 2003 by Pope John Paul II
God knows that the scope of all of my works is only to do His will. My only interest is God's glory and the good of souls. I am always an obedient son of Holy Mother Church and am ready to shed my blood and give my life for Her. - Blessed Mark of Aviano
Blessed Mark of Aviano shone with holiness as his soul burned with a longing for prayer, silence and adoration of God's mystery. This contemplative who journeyed along the highways of Europe was the centre of a wide-reaching spiritual renewal, thanks to his courageous preaching that was accompanied by numerous miracles. An unarmed prophet of divine mercy, he was impelled by circumstances to be actively committed to defending the freedom and unity of Christian Europe. Blessed Mark of Aviano reminds the European continent, opening up in these years to new prospects of cooperation, that its unity will be sounder if it is based on its common Christian roots. - Pope John Paul II in his homily at the beatification of Blessed Mark of Aviano