Brief Memories

Brief Memories of the Life of Joseph Marello Bishop of Acqui
and of the Congregation He Founded

Fr. John Baptist Cortona, O.S.J.

Father John Baptist Cortona,
Born at Gamalero, Alexandria, Italy on July 5, 1855.
Ordained a priest in Asti on February 18, 1883.
Entered the Congregation of the Oblates of St. Joseph in August, 1883.
Represented Bishop J. Marello as superior while the founder was bishop of Acqui.
Superior general (“rector major” in those days) from 1895 to 1921. Prepared Brief Memories in 1919.
Spiritual director of the congregation after 1921. Left 10 written conferences during this time.
Died at Alba, Cuneo, Italy on October 8, 1931.


Chapter 1 (1844-1867): Birth of Joseph Marello. Move to San Martino Alfieri. He feels called to the priesthood and enters the seminary. He leaves his seminary studies and undertakes a business course. His behavior during this time. His miraculous recovery. His return to seminary studies.

Chapter 2 (1867-1877): His priestly ordination. Savio, bishop of Asti. Fr. Marello appointed secretary to bishop Savio. He accompanies his bishop to the Vatican Council. His father dies. He wants to become a Trappist and Bishop Savio dissuades him. Bishop Savio chooses him as his confessor. He again wishes to become a Trappist and Bishop Savio convinces him that he has another mission in this world.

Chapter 3 (1877-1879): Marello’s idea of founding the congregation. Consultation of authoritative and devout priests who approve his plan. First brothers and establishment of the congregation in the Michelerio Charitable Institute. Extreme poverty and their dress. Instructions on the imitation of St. Joseph and his principal teachings. The brothers’ activities. First investiture with the religious habit.

Chapter 4 (1879-1881): Shrine of Our Lady at Vallone and construction of the adjacent house. Bishop Savio’s illness and his holy death. The pain that it caused Marello. Edifying incidents surrounding Bishop Savio. Marello moves into the diocesan seminary.

Chapter 5 (1881-1883): Asti’s Bishop Ronco. Canon Marello presents him a report on the state of the congregation. Desire to undertake clerical studies. Difficulties with Canon Cerruti. Fr. Cortona enters the congregation.

Chapter 6 (1882-1884): New difficulties for the congregation’s entering into studies. Msgr. Bertagna, vicar general of Asti. His opinion of the congregation, and the post entrusted him by the bishop. Various factors obliging us to separate from the Michelerio Institute.

Chapter 7 (1884-1888): St. Clare’s House. Evening catechetical classes. Transferal to St. Clare’s of Cerrato Foundation’s Hospice for Chronic Invalids. Theater adapted for Church use. Some of the brothers moved to St. Clare’s. Marello’s coming to live with them. Fr. Bosso’s proposal to join our congregation into one family with Blessed Cottolengo’s. Canon Marello chosen to be bishop of Acqui.

Chapter 8 (1889): Bishop-elect Marello leaves for Rome. Letters from this city. His consecration as bishop. Festive receptions on his return. Gifts offered him. First pontifical Mass.

Chapter 9 (1889): Bishop Marello goes to San Martino Alfieri. Ceremonies of honor he receives there. He participates in the centennial Feast of Our Lady of Salve in Alexandria. His first pastoral letter. His solemn entry into the diocese of Acqui.

Chapter 10 (1889-1895): Bishop Marello’s pastoral life. Edifying examples. His physical-moral description.

Chapter 11 (1893-1895): Bishop Marello and youth. Purchase of the castle of Frinco of Asti. Bishop Marello’s last grave tribulation.

Chapter 12 (1895): Bishop Marello again attends the Feast of Our Lady of Salve in Alexandria. He goes to Savona. His holy death. Solemn funeral services.

Chapter 13: The congregation’s growth after Bishop Marello’s death. The father’s spiritual testament to his children. Conclusion.