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  • Giosue Borsi
    June 10, 1888 - November 10, 1915

    Soldier, poet and journalist, born in Leghorn, Italy, 10 June, 1888, died 10 November, 1915; son of Averado Borsi and Verdiano Fabbri. From his earliest years Borsi manifested literary ability. A poem written to his mother at the age of thirteen has been termed a classic. At fifteen and seventeen he published volumes of poetry, while at twenty he was recognized as a foremost commentator of Dante. At twenty-two he succeeded his father as editor of "Il Nuova Giornale" of Florence.

    Borsi had been raised in an irreligious atmosphere as his father was the owner of a chain of anticlerical newspapers, but he had been baptized and received his first Communion at the age of fourteen in deference to his mother's wishes. He studied at the University of Leghorn, where he received his degree in law, for which he had no particular interest, so he left the university to become a journalist. Three deaths in his family, that of father, sister, and a brother, blasted his hopes of earthly happiness, and in visiting the cemetery where they were buried he became acquainted with the local Franciscans, at whose suggestion he commenced to study religious works. In the interest of his newspaper he became acquainted with Rev. Guido Alfani, P.M., director of the Florentine Observatory, who satisfied his religious difficulties and received him back into the Church.

    On 18 July, 1914, Borsi received Holy Communion for the second time and on 29 April, 1915, was confirmed by Cardinal Maffi, Archbishop of Pisa, and on 4 May following he began writing his "Spiritual Soliloquies," which are regarded by some critics as a twentieth-century version of the "Confessions" of St. Augustine, and in the opinion of Cardinal Maffi will stand with them amongst the greatest ascetical literature produced by the Church.

    Enlisting at once when Italy entered the war, in October, 1915, Borsi was sent to the Isonzo front, where he fell, mortally wounded, 10 November, while leading his platoon to attack. After his death his Colloquies, which are fifty-four in number, the last eighteen having been written at the front, were published, and translated by Rev. Pasquale Maltese under the title of "Soldier's Confidences with God." A series of letters to his fiancée, entitled "Confessions to Julia," are in course of publication. The influence of the spiritual writings of this young Italian, turned from a dissipated darling of the salons of Florence and Rome into an apostle of Catholicism, is a palpable force among the young men in Italy to-day, whose fruits cannot yet be reckoned.


    Publication Information:

    The Catholic Encyclopedia: an International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, and History of the Catholic Church, Volume XVII - Supplement I. New York: The Encyclopedia Press, Inc., 1922.


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