St. Giuseppe Moscati was an accomplished doctor and a unique saint.
He was born in Benevento, Italy in 1880 to a family of nine children. When his brother Alberto, a lieutenant in the artillery, fell from a horse and suffered an incurable head injury, young Giuseppe was inspired to pursue a career in medicine.
In 1903, he earned his doctorate from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Naples. Dr. Giuseppe Moscati began practicing at hospitals in Naples and later became an administrator. When Mount Vesuvius erupted on April 8, 1906, one of the hospitals he oversaw was a few miles from the crater of Mount Vesuvius. Dr. Moscati risked his life to evacuate the patients, many of whom were elderly or paralyzed.
Dr. Moscati achieved many milestones in his research. For instance, he contributed to the discovery of insulin, which created life-saving treatments for people with diabetes. He also became a member of the Royal Academy of Surgical Medicine and received a doctorate in physiological chemistry, ultimately becoming an expert in twenty different medical specialities. During the cholera outbreak of 1911, Dr. Moscati conducted public health inspections and successfully researched the disease’s origins and effective treatments.
In addition to being an intelligent and successful doctor, Dr. Moscati was a devout Catholic. The Eucharist was the center of everything he did, so he attended Mass every day. He was convicted of the need to alleviate his patients’ suffering rather than profit off them; he never turned away a patient who couldn’t afford treatment, and even provided prescriptions and money to those in need.
At one point, he considered becoming a Jesuit, but the Jesuits believed his call was to serve in the secular world. Dr. Moscati became a lay Third Order Franciscan and took vows of chastity and pursuit of charity in his daily work. He encouraged his patients to go to Confession and receive the sacraments..
By God’s grace, Dr. Moscati’s intercession has cured people after his death. The miracle that granted him sainthood involved the healing of a young man dying of leukemia. The patient’s mother dreamt of a doctor with a white coat, but didn’t know who the doctor was. Shortly after she awoke, her son’s cancer went into remission. When the mother saw a picture of Dr. Moscati, she recognized him as the man in her dream.
Dr. Moscati was one of many heroic Catholic physicians who met people’s spiritual and physical needs. Now he intercedes for us from heaven. He is the patron saint of doctors, physicians, those rejected by religious orders, and students pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry.
Dr. Moscati’s life proves that faith and science do intersect. We are often told that these two realms are wholly incompatible and that those who profess faith in God do not believe in science. If you are struggling to understand how faith and science work together, a helpful guide is Dr. Gerard Verschuuren’s How Science Points To God. Get your own copy here.