Blessed Alberto Marvelli (21 March 1918 – 5 October 1946) was an Italian Roman Catholic and a member from the Catholic Action movement.[1] He became noted for his defense of the poor and for selflessness during World War II in tending to the homeless and wounded despite the devastating air raids while placing himself at risk in doing so. Marvelli also saved numerous people from deportation since he would free them from sealed train carriages before the train would set off.[2][3] Marvelli likewise was an active champion for social justice and was known for providing his own possessions to the poor and homeless more so during the harsh winter periods. He served as a town councilor for sometime after the war and aided in restoration efforts though died before an election as a Christian Democrat candidate in an accident.[2]

Alberto Marvelli
Marvelli in Florence at his friend's villa.
Born(1918-03-21)21 March 1918
Ferrara, Kingdom of Italy
Died5 October 1946(1946-10-05) (aged 28)
Rimini, Italy
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Beatified5 September 2004, Loreto, Italy by Pope John Paul II
Major shrineSan Agostino Church, Rimini, Italy
Feast5 October

Marvelli's reputation for holiness and for his faith led to the cause for his beatification being introduced and Pope John Paul II beatified Marvelli in 2004 in Loreto.[1]


Alberto Marvelli was born on 21 March 1918 in Ferrara as the second of six children to Luigi Marvelli (who worked in a bank) and Maria Mayr.[1]

In his childhood he was known for being a thoughtful and reserved individual though with an enthusiastic willingness to aid other people. His mother - who involved herself in charities - was a special influence on his religious formation and often invited the poor to their home. The Marvelli's later moved to Rimini in June 1930.[3] In Rimini he attended the Salesian "oratorio" school and was involved with the Catholic Action group in his parish since he was twelve. One childhood friend of his was the filmmaker Federico Fellini; he loved all kinds of sports and had a special love for bike riding. Marvelli's father died on 7 March 1933 which was unexpected and left Maria to take care of her children. It was some months later in October that he began to keep a spiritual journal.[3][2] In 1936 - aged eighteen - Marvelli was elected as the president of the Italian branch of the Catholic Action movement. He continued his studies at the college in Bologna where he graduated in June 1941 with a degree in engineering and began working with Fiat in Turin. He left soon after for mandated service with the armed forces in Trieste but was exempted from it after a few months because two of his brothers were in service. It was not long after this that he began teaching in a high school.[1]

Throughout World War II he continued to serve the poor at great personal cost and risk to himself. The Marvelli's were forced to move to Vergiano - seven kilometres from Rimini - because of the devastating air raids. Despite the risk to his own life he would - after each bombing - go back to Rimini to help the wounded and the homeless.[1] He is known to have given even his bike and the shoes off his feet to those most in need. He also gave out food to them as well as mattresses and blankets for their comfort.[3] During the German occupation he saved numerous people from deportation to the concentration camps and he freed them from the sealed carriages of the trains that were prepared to leave the station at Santarcangelo.

Once the war had ended the interim authorities entrusted to Marvelli the task of housing allocation and he proved an able administrator while being appointed to the town council some months later.[1] He opened a soup kitchen for the poor where he himself served and as co-founder of Italian Workers' Catholic Action formed a cooperative for construction workers. He agreed to run in elections as a candidate for the Christian Democrats around this point but died before the elections; people still voted for him though his mother took his place in this venture. In 1945 he had joined Luigi Gedda's "Società Operaia".[2]

Marvelli was killed in the evening of 5 October 1946 when a van belonging to the armed forces struck him on a dark road as he rode his bike as he travelled to a polling station for an election meeting.[1][3] His remains now rest in the Sant'Agostino Church in Rimini in a decorated tomb. His remains have been there since 1 March 1968.[2] The then-Prelate of Loreto Angelo Comastri spoke with Vatican Radio and said that "one can be in politics and be a saint" as demonstrated from Marvelli's life while also highlighting that he "left a sign of cleanness" that is often unseen in the political sector.


Marvelli's beatification cause opened under Pope Paul VI on 16 January 1975 after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints issued the official edict of "nihil obstat" (nothing against the cause) and titled Marvelli as a Servant of God. The conditional process of investigation was held in Rimini from 13 July 1975 until its successful closure on 17 August 1976 while the C.C.S. validated the investigation on 29 May 1981 in Rome. The postulation (officials in charge of the cause) compiled and submitted the Positio dossier to the C.C.S. for their evaluation in 1983 with theologians approving it on 23 October 1985 and the C.C.S. themselves approving it as well on 4 February 1986. Marvelli was declared to be Venerable on 22 March 1986 after Pope John Paul II confirmed that Marvelli had lived a life of model heroic virtue.

The miracle for his beatification was investigated in the Bologna archdiocese in a tribunal that Cardinal Giacomo Biffi opened and closed; the C.C.S. validated the investigation in Rome on 23 January 1998 while medical experts approved the healing to be a miracle on 14 November 2002. Theologians concurred in this decision on 4 March 2003 as did the C.C.S. members on 20 May 2003. John Paul II issued final assent needed for the miracle on 7 July 2003 and beatified Marvelli in Loreto on 5 September 2004.

The miracle that led to his beatification was the healing from an aggressive hernia of a doctor from Bologna in August 1991 named Tito Malfatti. 250 000 people attended the beatification celebration.[4][5]

The current postulator for the cause is the Redemptorist priest Antonio Marazzo and the current vice-postulator is Monsignor Fausto Lanfranchi.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Blessed Alberto Marvelli". Saints SQPN. 5 September 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Blessed Alberto Marvelli". Santi e Beati. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Alberto Marvelli (1918-1946)". Vatican News Service. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  4. ^ "A Politico who strove for Sanctity". EWTN. 15 July 2003. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Alberto Marvelli, a Politician of God". Zenit. 5 September 2004. Retrieved 5 October 2017.


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