It’s been one year since Blessed Carlo Acutis’s beatification, which just happened to be two days before his feast day on October 12. While word of his sanctity and intercessions have made the rounds on social media, we usually get the bare basics that keep getting repeated. That’s why, In honor of his feast day—and in my own personal mission to have him better known by other young Catholics—I wanted to share some facts about this inspiring Millennial blessed that many people may not know.
Are you ready to get better acquainted with this potential patron saint of technology and the internet? Here are five facts you need to know about Blessed Carlo Acutis.
1. Rule Britannia
Most know that Blessed Carlo was an Italian teenager. Many who have done a quick Google search on him will know that he was actually born in London, England but grew up in Milan, Italy. But did you know that he also spoke the language of his birthplace? Yes, that’s right! Bl. Carlo spoke English yet he did not flaunt his linguistic abilities. In fact, a former neighbor of his recalled that he used to let others attempt to answer questions in the language when they were having English lessons: that Carlo pretended not to know the answers.
His other connections to England include the place of his baptism (Our Lady of Dolours, London on May 13, 1991) and even an English ancestor. Carlo’s paternal grandmother was half English and half Polish. While he never returned to his north country, his mother believes that devotion to Carlo has spread to the UK and U.S. due to his English roots. (side note: a maternal grandmother was also born in New York so we Americans can also have a little claim to Carlo).
2. Modern Day St. Francis of Assisi
It’s no surprise that his remains are in Assisi since it was his favorite place in the world. Furthermore, he was a devotee of St. Francis of Assisi and lived his life in a way that would make St. Francis proud.
Carlo truly had a heart for the destitute. He used to save up his money to buy tents for the homeless in Milan instead of buying toys for himself. There was a particular gentleman named Matteo whom Carlo worried so much about that he didn’t sleep at times. Carlo asked his mother to get him a sleeping bag so that Matteo wouldn’t have to sleep on a cardboard box. He also had home cooked meals made for him on some evenings, which he then went to deliver to Matteo. Carlo refused to give Matteo any leftovers and would ask anyone who called Matteo a “tramp” to not speak in such a way to a fellow child of God.
3. Mama’s Boy
You’d think that this young man, who died in his early teen years, would be thinking about girls and romance just like most of his peers. However, many of his friends and former classmates have revealed that that wasn’t the case. While he befriended everyone and treated everyone with respect, he boldly proclaimed that there was only one woman in his life and that woman was our Blessed Mother. It is said that he prayed the Rosary every single day from the day of his First Communion so he was in constant contact with the woman of his life.
4. Child Tech Prodigy
We all know that he was a computer whiz and that he’s very likely going to be proclaimed a patron of the internet and technology but what most people don’t know was that interest in technology began in childhood, years before social media and the advances we have today. At the age of 9 (roughly the year 2000), he began teaching himself computer programming. His mother used to buy him college-level textbooks which he used to spend hours studying. It was his mission to evangelize using the internet, which is why he began cataloging all the Eucharistic miracles worldwide and throughout history on a webpage. You can still visit the website and see his work here.
5. Honest Abe… Err, Carlo
In an interview for the documentary, I Am with You: A Documentary of Carlo Acutis, his best friend recalls a memory of Carlo’s honest integrity that was apparent from childhood. During the summer when they were only 10-11 years old, they had gone on vacation to Assisi with their families. Since it was a hot summer day, they went out to get gelato across town. When they returned home, Carlo noticed that they’d been given 20 extra cents. Carlo did not believe it was right for them to keep it, saying that that seemingly small sum was the fruits of the hard work and sacrifice of those people. That’s when Carlo decided to walk back across the town (uphill!) to return the money.
Of course, these facts are just scratching the surface. Blessed Carlo lived an awe-inspiring life that showed spiritual maturity beyond his years. After all, it’s not every day that a bishop allows a 7-year-old to not only make his First Communion early but also receive the Eucharist on a daily basis.
I’m sure we will continue to hear more about this amazing blessed as his canonization cause continues. In the meantime, I highly recommend reading more about Bl. Carlo or even renting one of the excellent documentaries available on EWTN On-Demand.
Blessed Carlo Acutis, pray for us!
Featured Image: Wikimedia commons.