St. Gaspar del Bufalo

Founder (1786–1837)
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Gaspar del Bufalo was born in Rome and ordained a priest in 1808. In a small local church there was a supposed relic of Christ’s blood, preserved on a piece of the centurion’s cloak. This inspired in Gaspar a lifelong devotion to the Precious Blood, which became a distinguishing feature of his spirituality. In 1809, upon Napoleon’s conquest of Rome, all the clergy were required to pledge an oath of allegiance to the emperor. Most, including Gaspar, refused, resulting in his exile and eventually imprisonment. All told, this ordeal lasted four years, only ending with Napoleon’s downfall. 

Back in Rome, Gaspar put himself at the service of the pope, who entrusted him with the task of rebuilding the Church and restoring faith. Taking as his theme the Precious Blood that was shed for the world, Gaspar set off on a series of preaching missions that would occupy him for the rest of his life. To assist him, he founded a new congregation, Missionaries of the Precious Blood, later joined by a parallel institute for women, Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood. 

Among his most perilous missions was his effort to evangelize the bands of outlaws who had proliferated in the countryside—originally partisans in the fight against the French, but now reduced to organized crime. Gaspar was described as a “spiritual earthquake” and an “angel of peace,” whose preaching effected widescale conversions. 

He died on December 28, 1837, and was canonized in 1954. 

“It is necessary to send out workers everywhere so that the world will be cleansed in the Divine Blood.” 

—St. Gaspar del Bufalo 

© Liturgical Press.

Robert Ellsberg

Robert Ellsberg is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Orbis Books and the author of several award-winning books, including All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time; Blessed Among All Women; and The Saints' Guide to Happiness.

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