By Maggie Bell
November 10 is the feast day of Sant’Andrea Avellino, the patron saint of Naples and Sicily. Andrea was born in Castronuovo in 1521 with the baptismal name of Lancelotto, which he later changed to Andrea. Andrea pursued a life of piety and learning, beginning his studies with his uncle, the archpriest of Castronuovo. He chose to pursue a religious education at the age of seventeen, and became ordained as a priest in 1545 when he was twenty-four. After the death of his father, Andrea traveled to Naples, where he was heavily influenced by Jesuit teaching, and sought to achieve a more perfect spiritual life. He was then charged with the task of reforming the Monastery of the Archangel in Baiano according to the strict practices he had adopted.
Soon afterwards, Andrea traveled to Rome on a pilgrimage to visit the tombs of the Apostles and the martyrs. There, he joined the Theatine Order, which was particularly dedicated to virtue and upholding the doctrine of the Church. In 1570, Andrea was elected vicar of two Theatine houses, one in Piacenza and one at San Calimero in Milan, where he began a friendship with Carlo Borromeo, one of the leading voices of the Counterreformation.
In 1584 he returned to Naples as the prior of San Paolo Maggiore and Santi Apostoli. On November 10, 1608, Andrea collapsed suddenly while saying mass, and died later that night in his room, which has since been converted into a chapel.
Andreu, Francesco. Andrea Avellino, Santo. Dizionario Treccani. http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/santo-andrea-avellino_(Dizionario-Biografico)
Tazzini, Giacomo. Andrea Avellino, Statue from the facade of Sant’Antonio Abate in Milan, Italy, 1832.
Body of Andrew Avellino in San Paolo Maggiore in Naples
San Paolo Maggiore, Naples, facade