On November 16, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Joseph Moscati, the first modern medical doctor to be canonized. Born on July 25, 1880 in Benevento, Italy, he lived out the Gospel through his position as a teacher and physician. There are a number of stories of Dr. Moscati paying close attention to the state of his patient's soul as well as the body, sometimes even bringing the patient back to the sacraments. The Catholic understanding of body and soul clearly informed his understanding of illness and medicine. He saw Confession and Communion as the “first medicine.”
He is quoted as once having said, “Remember that you have to deal not only with the bodies but also with the moaning souls coming to you.”
Dr. Moscati’s holiness and devotion wasn’t just limited to his practice. To help the poor, he often donated his medical services or paid for his patients' prescriptions.
St. Joseph Moscati also felt it was important to support priests and those in religious life with his prayers because, as he said: "They are easily forgotten by the living, since Christians often think that they do not need prayers."
He carried a Rosary in his pocket as a reminder throughout his day and as a way to draw him to Our Lady -- and through her, to Jesus -- when he needed to make important decisions.
St. Joseph Moscati died on April 12, 1927 of natural causes in his office between patient appointments. He was beatified on November 16, 1975 by Pope Paul VI and canonized on October 25, 1987 by Pope John Paul II. His body rests in Naples, Italy, in the Church of Gesu Nuovo.