- Blessed Artemide Zatti, Salesian of Don Bosco and lay brother, was beatified in 2002 by Pope John Paul II.
- In 1976, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the present Pope, asked to pray for vocations, through the intercession of Artemide Zatti.
Among the many Salesian saints of the Don Bosco’s Spiritual Family, we have a lay brother in paradise, whose liturgical memory is hold on 13th November. He is Blessed Brother Artemide Zatti from Argentina. When Don Bosco created the Salesians, the first male branch of the Salesian Family, he set two groups: The Salesian priests and the Salesian brothers. It is easy to notice the Salesian priests since they are presiding the liturgies, but it is more difficult to see the presence of all those Salesians who are also bringing the Don Bosco charism among the young people, but without being part of the clergy.
The Lay Brothers, although religious with the three religious vows of chastity, obedience and poverty, do not wear a religious habit or something that we can put them immediately in the category of monks and, evidently, they are. The Lay Brother work among the young people, in the workshops or any activity that tends to improve the lives of the youth, like professionals or leaders.
Blessed Artemide Zatti was born on 12th October 1880 in Boretto (Reggio Emilia), Italy from the farmers Luigi Zatti and Albina Vecchi. As many Italian families, pushed by poverty at the end of the 19th century, they migrated to Bahía Blanca, Argentina in 1897. After working for three years in the mosaic factory and helping actively in the Parish, he entered the Salesian Aspirantate in Bernal, Buenos Aires in 1900.
Then it came the tuberculosis crisis. Fall in the hospital, a Salesian nurse told him in reference to Virgin Mary: “If she cures you, you must dedicate yourself to the sick.” The young Artemide made his promise to Mary Help of Christians promising that if he was healed, he would dedicate to the service of the health mission: “I believed, I promised and I cured,” he would say years after.
He made his first religious profession in 1908 and the perpetual profession in 1911. In 1914 he became Argentine citizen and he became the director of the Viedma Hospital in 1915, the same hospital where he was cured from his tuberculosis and taking the position of the late Brother who announced his vocation. It was very soon that he became well known in all Viedma and the Patagonia region and was already mentioned as the “holy nurse of Patagonia”, because, being the hospital director, he used his own bicycle to visit personally the sick at home.
When he visited the sick, he used to greet saying “Good morning. Long life to Jesus, Joseph and Mary. Do all of you breathe?” Once he asked to a religious sister: “Sister, do you have clothe for a Jesus of 12 years old?” He used to say also that the best medicine was good humor, making lovely jokes to the sick, who loved him very much.
Years later, Salesian Father Barasich recounted about Br. Zatti to him in early years:
“What's wrong with you, little boy? He asked me when he saw me arrive tearful and in pain. He looked for a pomadita and bandaged me, while he spoke to me and calmed me down. It seemed to me that he cured me more with words than with medicine. It was thus that within a few days I was safe and sound. Years passed and that hand was consecrated to lift the host. I always think that Zatti was present with his gesture, of closeness, trying to heal, sometimes more worried than the patient himself ”.
In 1950 he knew that he was with cancer, but he brought the sickness with the same courage and joy that was his character. He died on 15t March 1951 and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2002.