Marcello Candia

marcello ‘From being the rich businessman that he was, he made himself poor’, giving all of his possessions and also giving himself. During the years of his youth and his early adulthood he learnt to link work with a wise administration of his possessions and a social charity that was increasingly attentive and industrious. Then, when circumstances led him to form a friendship with some Brazilian missionaries, he came to the following conclusion: ‘Economic help is not enough. One has to share in the lives of the poor, at least in so far as this is possible. It would be too easy for me to have a comfortable and trouble-free life here and then say: ‘I will send what I do not need there’. I am called to go and live with them!’.

He moved to Macapà where he founded a hospital ‘for the poorest of the poor’ as well as a well equipped leper hospital in Maritubam. He spent the last eighteen years of his life in Brazil, establishing in that country ‘works and works’: nursing homes, schools, villages, leper hospitals, convents, seminaries, churches and centres for voluntary work. He took himself as far as Belo Horizonte, to the shantytowns of Rio de Janeiro, and to the borders with Bolivia.

A friend of his who every so often visited him during his missionary work provides us with the following testimony: ‘Candia was dynamic, self-assured, used to giving orders, being the one who always spoke. He was a generous man, who gave, who had a great deal of wealth, but he aware that he had it and he knew how to use it …But every time that he came back from Amazonia I found him changed. He realised that he needed everyone to fulfil his aspirations. The change was very notable: from being a man at the centre of his world, he was becoming a servant for everyone…He truly felt that he was at the service of the people that God made him meet’. On the walls of his home in Brazil he had had written: ‘one cannot share the Bread of heaven if one does not share the bread of earth’.