On 12 June 1964 the Camillian student Nicola D’Onofrio died of an incurable illness. This young man, who died at the age of just twenty-five, during the last period of life demonstrated evidence of mature and evident holiness, as was recognised by the Church which in 2000 opened for him the process of beatification.
Born in 1943 in Villamagna (bordering on Bucchianico), Nicola (known by everyone as ‘Nicolino’ D’Onofrio) already as a boy had expressed the wish to become a Camillian, despite the contrary views of his parents. After managing to convince them, in 1955 he moved to the Camillian studentate of Rome where his intellectual and spiritual talents were noticed. After five years he began his novitiate and in 1961 he made his four vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and care for the sick, even at risk to his own life. At the end of 1962 he began to show signs of the tumour which was diagnosed a few months later. He faced up to the painful therapies with extraordinary courage and strength of mind. In the meantime his religious formation continued; on 7 October 1964 the making of his solemn vows was envisaged but his Superiors understood that he had only a little time to live. For this reason they asked the Holy See to authorise the bringing forward of the date of the ceremony which then took place on 28 May. Nicolino died on 12 June 1964 after almost two years of suffering. Buried to begin with in his family tomb, since 1979 he has lain in the crypt of the sanctuary of St. Camillus in Bucchianico.
On 5 July 2013 Pope Francis proclaimed him Venerable. The house of spirituality in Bucchianico and the Camillian house of formation at the John XXIII Institute of Mangano (Catania) are named after Nicola D’Onofrio.
For the fiftieth anniversary of his death, celebrations are planned in Bucchianico, Rome and Villamagna to commemorate this shining example of Camillian holiness. The anniversary of the ‘going to heaven’ of Nicolino coincides with that of the founder of the Order, St. Camillus, which will be commemorated on 14 July next.
Read here the programme of the celebrations
Look here at the press information