Arcangelo Tadini (1846-1912)
Arcangelo Tadini was born on 12 October 1846 in Verolanuova (Brescia), Italy. At the age of 18 he entered the seminary in Brescia; however an accident was to leave him with a limp for the rest of his life. He was ordained in 1870 but illness obliged him to spend his first year as a priest with his family.
From 1871 to 1873 he was a curate at Lodrino, a mountain village, and then at the Shrine of Santa Maria della Noce near Brescia.
He was known for his attention to his people's needs. After flooding left many parishioners homeless, he organized a soup-kitchen in the parish house that served 300 meals a day. In 1885 he was transferred to Botticino Sera as curate and two years later was appointed parish priest and dean of the same parish, where he spent the remaining 25 years of his life.
A zealous pastor of souls, he provided catechesis for every age group, started a choir, organized various confraternities, rebuilt the church and cared for the liturgy. When he preached, people were amazed at the warmth and power that his words instilled.
With the spread of the industrial revolution, he founded the Workers' Mutual Aid Association to help labourers suffering from illness, accidents, disabilities or old age. He used his own inheritance to plan and build a spinning factory, providing it with the latest equipment and later building an adjacent residence for working women. To educate young working women, he founded the Congregation of Worker Sisters of the Holy House of Nazareth, who went into the factories to work alongside the other women, sharing their toil and tensions, while teaching them by their example. To the sisters and the young working women Fr Tadini held up the example of Jesus, who not only sacrificed himself on the Cross but spent the first 30 years of his life in Nazareth where he was not ashamed to use a carpenter' s tools or to have calloused hands and a brow bathed in sweat.
He taught his parishioners that work is not a curse but rather the way in which men and women are called to fulfil themselves as human beings and as Christians. His strength came from prayer: his parishioners would see him stand for hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament, despite his disability, absorbed in contemplation of God. Fr Arcangelo Tadini ended his earthly life on 20 May 1912.