Servant of God Michael Ansaldo

Michael Ansaldo was born into a noble family in the city of Messina, in the island of Sicily. He was the youngest male child of the family, and he had a brother called Joseph Ansaldo. This tiny baby was baptized with the name Michael because he was born on 29 September on the feast of St. Michael, the Archangel. The surname of his father was Ansaldo, and so the boy was called Michael Ansaldo. Michael grew up in wisdom, in fear of God, and in Christian virtues. His mother taught him to imitate St. Aloysius Gonzaga because Aloysius was a close relative of his mother. Later, the boy Michael grew up and, at the age of 15 in the year 1754, entered the Jesuit Seminary. He finished his academic tudies and underwent a priestly formation. He was ordained a priest in the year 1767 and was perpetually professed in the year 1771. In the same year, he left for India as a missionary, along with the French Jesuit missionaries. He landed on the shore of Pondicherry after a long voyage by ship. As soon as he reached Pondicherry, his heart was moved deeply by the social, economic, and political situations of India, in particular Pondicherry. He cried at the sufferings of girl children of young widows and at the ill treatment in the name of untouchability faced by low caste people.

Ansaldo decided, in the depth of his heart, to save these abandoned children and afflicted women. He worked tirelessly night and day to give them life and to protect them from such social evils. Later in the year 1775, he confined his zeal to the stablishment and management of three religious convents. At the request of his superiors, he accepted to take care of the Carmalite convent, which was already established. The Carmelite convent was called the major convent, and the minor convent was called Louis de onzague, which took care of the abandoned children under the protection of St. Aloysius Gonzaga. He appointed a few nuns as his helpers to take care of them. Gradually, the number of inmates grew in that home, but caste conflicts in the utside world affected the convent too. Hence, he established one more convent for the upper caste women. Thereby, the Louis de Gonzague Convent gave birth to another convent known as Our Lady of Bon Secours Ansaldo, who, as a good Catholic priest, performed all his pastoral activities and the celebrations of sacraments at the Cathedral in Pondicherry.

Fr. Mottet writes as follows about him: “He was a man of extraordinary virtues and great piety, and enjoyed the esteem of all, – He had a remarkable knack for gaining the confidence of people, and this, together with great prudence, enabled him to carry through any enterprise he put his hand to. But he confined his zeal to the establishment and management of three Convents. As a good Jesuit, out of his obedience until the last moment of his life, he took care of the Carmel Convent, which was entrusted by his superiors. Since he was a man of principles, he was sent as a visitor to Madras Capuchin Monastery on 16 October 1805. He reached Madras on 20 October 1805. He fell sick during his journey. During his stay at Capuchin Monastery, he could neither eat nor speak; he suffered in silence. He prayed for his beloved children with tears in his eyes and offered them into the hands of God. He died at the same monastery on 2 November 1805 exactly on the “Feast of All Souls.” Thus, his life began with the feast of the Archangels and ended with the feast of All Souls.


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