Joseph Marello was born in Turin on December 26, 1844. He spent his childhood in S. Martino Alfieri near Asti. His special devotion to the Virgin Mary determined his choice of vocation and his fidelity to it. He entered the seminary of Asti, where he inspired his companions with his goodness and holiness.
Ordained a priest on September 19,1868, Joseph Marello lived his priestly life intensely: he served the diocese of Asti first as secretary to the Bishop and then as Chancellor, directing the Curia's activities; he devoted himself to the ministry of confession, spiritual direction and catechesis; he took seriously the moral and religious education of youth and helped in the pastoral ministry; he showed himself sensible to the elderly, taking over a home for the aged which did not have the means to help those living in it; he engaged the laity through the Catholic initiatives being set up to support the Pope's person and actions at a difficult time for the Church.
At the same time he was contemplating the idea of dedicating himself totally to Lord in a Carthusian monastery. But His Bishop, Monsignor Savio, dissuaded him saying that the Lord was asking something different from him. He wanted to channel Marello's aspiration of total dedication to the Lord by starting a new Religious Family, which would revive in Asti the presence of Men religious, a presence which had been suffocated by the revolutionary laws of the time.
Marello founded the Congregation of the Oblates of St. Joseph on the 14th of March 1878, for which he proposed St. Joseph as the exemplar of intimate relationship with the Divine Word and of "looking after Jesus". Above all, he entrusted to the Fathers and Brothers of the Oblates of St. Joseph the task of spreading devotion to St. Joseph, training the young and assisting in the ministry of the local churches.
During the 1st Vatican Council, His Eminence Gioacchino Cardinal Pecci, later Pope Leo XIII, had occasion to appreciate the virtues and talents of the young priest Joseph Marello, who accompanied his Bishop as secretary. Pope Leo XIII nominated Joseph Marello as Bishop of Acqui and he was consecrated on February 17, 1889. As a bishop, Joseph Marello approached everyone and strived to create unity between the clergy and the faithful. In his pastoral work he promoted the study of the catechism, the Christian education of youth, the parish missions and Christian living.
Joseph Marello died on May 30, 1895 in Savona, where he had gone, despite poor health, to take part in the celebrations for the third centennial of St. Philip Neri.
The cause for his canonization began on May 28, 1948. On June 12, 1978 the Degree of heroic virtue was read in the presence of Pope Paul VI. The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, beatified Joseph Marello on the 26th of September 1993 in Asti, and pointed him out as an example of charity, of untiring and silent work for youth and the abandoned, and as a model for all Pastors of the People of God and for all those who throughout the world carry on the work of the apostles.
Then by a solemn decree on December 18, 2000, the Holy Father declared thatAthe miracle worked by God through the intercession of Blessed Joseph Marello, Bishop of Acqui, Founder of the Congregation of the Oblates of St. Joseph, has been verified: namely the sudden, complete and enduring recovery of the children Alfredo and Isilia Chávez León, who were both restored to health at the same time from broncho-pulmonitis, a sickness accompanied by high fever, dyspnoea and cyanosis in patients, and usually caused by chronic malnutrition'.
After the recognition of this miracle, Pope John Paul II on the 13th of March 2001, during a public ordinary consistory for the canonization of the Blessed, solemnly pronounced: "By the authority of Almighty God, of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul and of Our own, We declare that: ...the Blessed Joseph Marello... be inscribed in the Album of Saints on 25th November 2001".