Birth. August 15, 1818, Palermo, Sicily. Of a noble family originally from Flanders. He was the eldest son of Marquis Luigi Dusmet and Marquise Maria Dragoneti. His last name is also listed as Dusmet Desmours. He was baptized on the same day of his birth at the cathedral of Palermo and received the names Giuseppe Maria Giacomo Filippo Lupo Domenico Antonio Rosolino Melchiorre Francesco di Paola Benedetto Gennaro. Melchiorre was chosen for family use. He had a sister, Marianna, and four brothers, Carlo, Tommaso, Diomede and Raffaele. When he was six years old, he was admitted to the school attached to the Benedictine abbey of S. Martino delle Scales, Monreale; his father made him return to Naples, where the family had settled, in 1832 out of concern that his son was going to follow an ecclesiastical vocation; and less than two years later he went back to the abbey when his father realized that he could not change his vocation.
Education. Entered the Order of St. Benedict in the Benedictine abbey of Montecassino; solemn profession, August 15, 1840, before Dom Eugenio Villaraut; he selected two of his baptismal names, Giuseppe Benedetto, as his religious name; in preparation for the taking of the vows, he went to a retreat preached by Michelangelo Celesia, O.S.B., future cardinal, who became his life long friend. Lector of philosophy and theology in the houses of studies of his order. Received the subdiaconate on October 11, 1840, from Domenico Balsamo, archbishop of Monreale, in the archiepiscopal palace; and the diaconate on November 15, 1840, from the same prelate in the same place.
Priesthood. Ordained, probably on September 18, 1841 in Monreale (1); he had to obtain a dispensation for not having yet reached the canonical age. Pastoral ministry, especially as preacher and confessor; also, professor of philosophy and theology, archivist and cantor; in 1845, he became secretary to Abbot Carlo Antonio Buglio and accompanied him on visitations to the abbeys of Caltanisetta and Catania. In 1847, the general chapter, held in Florence, transferred Abbot Buglio and his secretary to the abbey of S. Flavia in Catalnisetta. The general chapter named him prior of the abbey of Ss. Severino e Sossio, Naples, on June 12, 1850. The general chapter held in Montecassino in May 1852, named him prior and administrator of the abbey of S. Flavio in Caltanissetta. The general chapter held in Perugia in 1858 named him abbot of the monastery of San Nicolò l'Arena, Catania; he occupied the post until October 15, 1866, when it was confiscated, together with all the properties of the religious orders, by the new kingdom of Italy.
Episcopate. Elected archbishop of Catania, Sicily, February 22, 1867. Consecrated, March 10, 1867, basilica of S. Paolo fuori le mura, Rome, by Cardinal Antonino Saverio De Luca, assisted by Pietro Giannelli, titular archbishop of Sardi, and by Giuseppe Maria Papardo del Parco, C.R.S., titular bishop of Sinope. The Italian government returned the confiscated churches to the church in 1867; in that year, the seminary of Catania was also returned to the archbishop. It was not until 1878 that the government granted him the exequatur, which enabled him to take full possession of the archdiocese.
Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of February 11, 1889; received the red hat and the title of S. Pudenziana, February 14, 1889.
Death. April 4, 1894, near 10:30 p.m., in the archiepiscopal palace of Catania. Exposed in the metropolitan cathedral of Catania; the funeral took place on April 6, 1894, at 10 a.m., in the cathedral; and the burial, at 4:30 p.m., in the chapel of the Archconfraternity dei Bianchi in the cemetery of Catania (2). His remains were transferred to the metropolitan cathedral of Catania in May 1904 and placed in a monument designed by Architect Filadelfio Fichera; the effigy in marble was sculpted by Pasquale Leotta.
Beatification. On January 7, 1931, the cause for his beatification was introduced by Carmelo Patanè, archbishop of Catania; the postulator was Gaetano Fornaris, O.S.B.Cas. In 1935, an imposing monument to the late cardinal was unveiled in Catania by Cardinal Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster, O.S.B.Cas., archbishop of Milan and future blessed. On July 15, 1965, Pope Paul VI signed the decree on the heroic virtues of the Servant of God and proclaimed him a Venerable. Pope John Paul II beatified him on September 25, 1988.
Bibliography. Amadio, Gaetano. Il cardinale Dusmet. Catania : Crescenzio Galàtola, 1926; Bauersfeld, Richard. Josef Benedikt Kardinal Dusmet O.S.B. : Erzbischof von Catania. Obersteiermark, Austria : Druck und Verlag der Abtei Seckau, 1936. Responsibility: kurzer lebensabriss nach der italienischen biographie bearbeitet von P. Richard Bauersfeld; Catanen : Articoli et posizioni del Postulatore per la causa di beatificazione e canonizzazione del servo di Dio Giuseppe Benedetto Dusmet. Catholic Church. Archdiocese of Catania (Italy). Montecassino : [s.n.], 1931; Di Mauro, Salvatore. I chiostri e le strade di Dusmet. Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2012; Leccisotti, Tommaso Domenico. Il cardinale Dusmet. Catania : O.V.E., 1962; Lipari, Anselmo. Dusmet : una carità senza confini. Palermo : Abbazia di S. Martino delle Scale, 1988; Marra, Luigi Taddeo della. Il Collegio Sant' Anselmo in Roma e il Cardinale Dusmet. Catania : C. Galàtola, 1901; A Sicilian Borromeo. The Servant of God, Joseph-Benedict Dusmet, O.S.B. Archbishop of Catania and Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, 1818-1894. London : Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1938. Responsibility : by a Benedictine of Stanbrook Abbey; Un angelo delle anime : il servo di Dio, Giuseppe B. Dusmet, monaco, arcivescovo, cardinale : profili biografici. A cura della Postulazione della causa di beatificazione. Montecassino : A. Macioce & Pisani, 1935; Other title: Giuseppe Benedetto Dusmet; Zito, Gaetano. La cura pastorale a Catania negli anni dell'episcopato Dusmet (1867-1894). Con prefazione di Giacomo Martina. Acireale : Galatea, 1987. (Documenti e studi di synaxis).
Webgraphy. Portrait and biography, in Italian, Enciclopedia di Catania - Tringale Editore; portraits and biography, in Italian, Santi e Beati; his statue, piazza S.Francesco d'Assisi, Catania, Chi era costui; and his portrait by Emanuele Di Giovanni, Seminario Arcivescovile dei Chierici di Catania, Sicily, Italy.
(1) This is according to Leccisotti, Il cardinale Dusmet, pp. 21-22, n. 68.
(2) This is the text written in a parchment placed in his tomb, taken from Leccisotti, Il cardinale Dusmet, p. 602, n. 50:
Birth. September 22, 1815, Borbona, diocese of Rieti. From a modest family. Son of Giuseppe D'Annibale. Uncle (through his only sister, who married Luigi Tedeschini, from Antrodoco) of Cardinal Federico Tedeschini (1933). Received the sacrament of confirmation on September 15, 1822.
Education. Received his initial formation from the parish priest. Received the clerical habit on November 8, 1828, and the insignias of the clerical character and the minor orders on July 29, 1832, from Gabriele Ferretti, bishop of Rieti, future cardinal. Because of economic difficulties, he was not able to enter the seminary until 1835, studying philosophy and theology. Ordained to the subdiaconate on September 22, 1838, and to the diaconate on March 30, 1839. Later obtained a doctorate in utroque iuris, both civil and canon law, in Rome.
Priesthood. Ordained, September 21, 1839, by Filippo de� Conti Curoli, bishop of Rieti. After his ordination, he was sent back to Borbona for reasons unknown. Shortly after, he was named professor of dogmatic theology at the seminary, occupying the post for a year. He returned to his family in Borobona without a specific charge and remained there for ten years, from 1840 to 1850. During that period, he studied civil and Roman law. Named professor of moral theology in the Seminary of Rieti in 1851 by Father Paolo De Sanctis, rector of the seminary and his future biographer. In 1852, Bishop Gaetano Carletti of Rieti induced him to go to Rome and present himself as a doctoral candidate in utroque iure, both canon and civil law, at Collegio dei Protonotari Apostolici, which he obtained with great distinction. Shortly after, the bishop named him his vicar general; and later, canon of the cathedral chapter in February 1856; at the death of Bishop Carletti on July 26, 1867, he became vicar capitular until December 22, 1871, when Egidio Mauri, O.P., future cardinal, was preconized bishop of Rieti. He expanded and reworked the church of S. Maria Nuova, giving it the appearance that it has today. Encouraged by Bishop Mauri, he published in 1873 In Costitutionem Apostolicae Sedis, qua censurae latae sententiae limitantur Commentarii editi iussu illmi et remi Fr. Aegidii Mauri episcopi Reatini ad usum sacerdotum suae dioecesis. In 1874, he published the first volume of Summula theologiae moralis ad usum seminarii Reatini auctore I. D'Annibale cathedralis basilicae Reatinae canonico; in 1875, he published the second; and the following year, the third. The work was highly praised and appreciated by Gioacchino Pecci, archbishop-bishop of Perugia, future Pope Leo XIII. He also published the treatises De iustitia et iure; De legibus; De censuris; and De restitutione in genere. In spite of his reticence, he was promoted to the episcopate. On August 1, 1881, while he was in Ortona with Monsignor De Sanctis, he received the news of his promotion; he telegraphed his thanks and resignation; the response was that he had to accept.
Episcopate. Elected titular bishop of Caristo, August 12, 1881. Consecrated, August 14, 1881, church of SS. Trinità al Monte Pincio, Rome, by Cardinal Raffaele Monaco La Valletta, vicar general of Rome, assisted by Giulio Lenti, titular archbishop of Side, vice-gerent of Rome, and by Francesco Marinelli, O.S.A., titular bishop of Porfireone, sacristan of His Holiness. In the same ceremony was consecrated Sebastiano Galeati, bishop of Macerata et Tolentino, future cardinal. After the consecration, he returned to Rieti to his posts of vicar general and professor of theology at the seminary. On November 8, 1882, he had to move definitively to Rome to assume the post of canonist of the Apostolic Penitentiary. On April 25, 1883, he was named consultor of the Supreme S.C. of the Inquisition (Holy Office); and its assessor on November 14, 1884. Canon of the chapter of the patriarchal Vatican basilica, January 13, 1885.
Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of February 11, 1889; received the red hat and the title of Ss. Bonifacio ed Alessio, May 27, 1889. Named prefect of the S.C. of Indulgences and Relics on June 22, 1890. During the winter of 1891-1892 his bad health became worse. On July 16, 1892, he received the last sacraments.
Death. July 17 (1), 1892, Borbona, after receiving the extreme unction. Exposed in the parish church of Borbona, where the solemn funeral took place; and buried in a simple tomb in the cemetery of Borbona. On August 22, 1892, in the cathedral of Rieti, Canon Luigi Flavoni delivered the eulogy, which later was printed. On November 24, 1935, his remains were solemnly translated to the church of S. Maria Nuova, now S. Maria Assunta, Borbona. They were placed in an artistic urn (2).
Bibliography. Crispolti, Filippo. Corone e porpore. Ricordi personali. 2d ed. Con 28 illustrazioni fuori testo. Milano : Treves, 1936 (Collezione Storica. Seconda serie), p. 123 ff; De Sanctis, Paolo Biografia del cardinale Giuseppe D'Annibale. Roma : Scuola tipografica salesiana, 1898; "Giuseppe d'Annibale" in "Cardinali Defunti, La Gerarchia Cattolica e la Famiglia Pontificia per l'anno 1903, Città del Vaticano : Tipografia poliglotta vaticana, 1903, p. 191-192; LeBlanc, Jean. Dictionnaire biographique des cardinaux du XIXe siècle : contribution à l'histoire du Sacré Collège sous les pontificats de Pie VII, Léon XII, Pie VIII, Grégoire XVI, Pie IX et Léon XIII, 1800-1903. Montréal : Wilson & Lafleur, 2007. (Collection Gratianus. Série instruments de recherche), p. 283-285; Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen VIII (1846-1903). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1979, pp. 34, 47 and 187; Romani, Silvio. "Il card. D'Annibale moralista e giurista del XIX secolo." Rassegna di morale e diritto, I (1935), 456-475.
Webgraphy. Biography by Lilia Massaro, in Italian, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani - Volume 32 (1986), Treccani; brief biography by John Joseph A'Becket, in English, The Catholic Encyclopedia; his image and arms, Araldica Vaticana.
(1) This is according to Ritzler, Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, VIII, 34; Romani, "Il card. D'Annibale moralista e giurista del XIX secolo." Rassegna di morale e diritto, I, 464; and to his biographies in Italian and English, linked above. La Gerarchia Cattolica e la Famiglia Pontificia per l'anno 1903, p. 192, says that he died on July 18, 1892.
(2) This is the inscription on the urn, kindly provided by Mr. Eman Bonnici, from Malta:
Birth. March 3, 1832, Viterbo. Son of Count Luigi Macchi and Countess Veronica Cenci-Bolognetti. Nephew of Cardinal Vincenzo Macchi (1826).
Education. Studied at La Sapienza University, Rome, where he obtained a doctorate in law.
Priesthood. Ordained, 1859. Privy chamberlain of His Holiness. Domestic prelate and referendary of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature of Grace, 1860. Vice-president of the hospice in the Baths of Diocletian, Rome. Judge of the tribunal of the Consulta. Vicar of Cardinal Luigi Amat di San Filippo e Sorso at the church of S. Lorenzo in Damaso. Vicar of Cardinal Costantino Patrizi Naro, archpriest of the patriarchal Lateran basilica. Apostolic visitor to the diocese of Poggio Mirteto. Consultor of the S.C. of the Council. Master of chamber of Pope Pius IX, 1875; confirmed by Pope Leo XIII, March 7, 1878. Majordome and prefect of the Sacred Apostolic Palace, August 15, 1886.
Cardinalate. Created cardinal deacon in the consistory of February 11, 1889; received the red hat and the deaconry of S. Maria in Aquiro, February 14, 1889. Administrator of the Abbey of Subiaco, April 25, 1890. Opted for deaconry of S. Maria in Via Lata, November 30, 1896. Secretary of Apostolic Briefs, December 22, 1896. Cardinal protodeacon, July 11, 1899. Participated in the conclave of 1903, which elected Pope Pius X. Crowned Pope Pius X on August 9, 1903.
Death. March 29 (or 30), 1907, after a twelve hour illness; he celebrated mass the morning before; complained of illness in the afternoon; and died the following day as a result of an apoplectic stroke, in Rome. Exposed in the church of S. Maria in Portico and buried in his family's tomb, Campo Verano cemetery, Rome.
Bibliography. Daniel, Charles; Paul-Marie Baumgarten; Antoine de Waal. Rome; le chef suprême l'organisation et l'administration centrale de l'église. Paris : Plon, 1900, pp. 159-161.
Webgraphy. Biography in English, New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge; engraving. photograph and arms, Araldica Vaticana.
©1998-2018 Salvador Miranda.