Blessed Biographies: Carlo Acutis, Future Patron Saint of the Internet

There's a path to holiness that has worked over and over. It's the same path that allowed Saint Thérèse of Lisieux to become a Saint and Doctor of the Church, despite having lived only to the age of 24. 

You never know how many years you'll have, so the time is always NOW to become a Saint. 

So what is the quickest, surest path to Heaven and Sainthood? It's the same path that Carlo Acutis, Servant of God, took in his short life. 

Despite his short life, Carlo Acutis brought the Gospel to entirely new places and into entirely new forms. For this, he may one day be called the Patron Saint of the Internet and possibly even social media.

What was Carlo's secret? It was what he chose to be the single goal and objective of his short life. Check out one of his great quotes below:

"Jesus is my great friend and the Eucharist my highway to Heaven" - quote by Carlo Acutis, Servant of God  

Read below to find out more about this young man's incredible, albeit short, life: 

Born to a Lukewarm Family

Not too long ago, it seems, Carlo Acutis was born in London on May 3, 1991. His parents, Andrea and Antonia, were there on business. They returned home in September to Milan. 

"Madame, your son is special!" Carlo's mother often heard this remark from the parish priest, teachers, classmates, and even the porter of their building on Via Ariosto, where they moved in 1994. 

The boy's exceptional qualities were due to a very special friendship. Out of nowhere it seemed, as Carlo's family did not assiduously attend church, Carlo developed a great friendship with Jesus. 

Carlo's mother, Antonia Acutis, recalls how little Carlo could not pass in front of a church without asking to go in and greet Jesus. She was surprised to discover her son reading saint biographies and the Bible, and even more surprised when her son began asking questions of such depth and profundity that she was unable to answer:


I was perplexed by his devotion. He was so small and so sure. I understood that it was his thing, but that he was also calling me. So I began my journey of rapprochement with faith. I followed him."

At the age of seven and quite on his own, Charles asked to receive First Holy Communion. After questioning the precocious boy, Monsignor Pasquale Macchi guaranteed his maturity and level of Christian formation. However, he made a single recommendation: the celebration should take place in a place free from distractions. As such, on June 16, 1998, Carlo received the Eucharist in silence of the Bernaga monastery, near Lecco. 

“As a little boy, especially after his First Communion, he never missed his daily appointment with the Holy Mass and the Rosary, followed by a moment of Eucharistic adoration,” recalls Carlo's mother.

United to the Eucharist from a Young Age

Carlo first attended school with the Marcelline Sisters. He received his secondary education at the hands of the Jesuits at the Leo XIII Classical Lyceum. The Classical Lyceum is the oldest form of public secondary school in Italy, as well as the most rigorous. The Liceo classico was for a time the only path to university-level studies. 

Carlo thrived in this environment, becoming a young, affectionate and brilliant young man. 

Ever since boyhood and especially following that First Communion, Carlo's life revolved around a fixed point: daily Mass. "The Eucharist," he said, "is my highway to Heaven." He also frequently received the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As an adolescent, he added to his spiritual regimen a Daily Rosary and Eucharistic Adoration. 

He spoke thus of Eucharistic Adoration: "If we get in front of the sun, we get sun tans ... but when we get in front of Jesus in the Eucharist, we become Saints." 



But how does even a Saint survive high school these days? And with holiness intact?

A Saint in High School?

Carlo was convinced that he would not grow old. "I will die young," he often repeated. This is perhaps why he filled his days with such a whirlwind of activity, teaching the boys from the catechism, feeding the poor at the Caritas cafeteria, and spending time with the children of the oratory. 

While still achieving excellent grades in high school and between all his charity work, Carlo still found time to play the saxophone, play football, design computer programs, and, like any other red-blooded teenager, play video games. 

He was naturally inclined toward computer science and was even considered brilliant by practicing engineers who encountered his technical intuition and savvy. Carlo's interests ranged from computer programming to editing films, from creating websites to writing periodicals. 

His classmates looked to him, not only for advice or help, but also because of his way of putting people at ease. Carlo seemed to have a way with people from all backgrounds.
Carlo's friendly face was a common sight in his neighborhood. He befriended everybody, including the gatekeepers, janitors, and other domestic servants that worked in his neighborhood. These workers were often non-Europeans with Muslim and Hindu backgrounds. Carlo told everybody about his love for Christ, and people couldn't help but listen and share in his joy. One such domestic worker was Rajesh, a Hindu and Brahmin. A friendship developed between Rajesh and Carlo. The friendship was of such a profound nature that Rajesh converted to Catholicism. 

This is what Rajesh had to say about his friend, Carlo: 



He told me that I would have been happier if I had approached Jesus. I was baptized Christian because it was he who so affected me with his profound faith, his charity, and his purity. I have always considered it out of the ordinary because a boy so young, so handsome, and so rich, normally prefers to have a different life.

Speaking of Carlo's affluence, he was careful never to waste money. He was known to donate sleeping bags to the homeless on his way to Mass in Santa Maria Segreta. He also donated to the Capuchins of Viale Piave for the service of meals to the homeless.

Carlo never hid what made him most happy ...

Carlo was always inviting his friends to go with him to Mass. For his friends to become reconciled to God, this was the source of his joy. Carlo wrote the following in his journal:


Sadness is the gaze turned towards oneself, happiness is the gaze turned towards God. Conversion is nothing but moving the gaze from the bottom to the top. A simple movement of the eyes is enough.



“With the intensity of his spiritual life, Carlo fully and generously lived his fifteen years of life, leaving a profound impact on those who knew him.  He was an expert with computers, he read books on computer engineering and left everyone in awe, but he put his gift at the service of others and used it to help his friends,” Carlos mother said.[2] 

The Texture of His Spiritual Life and Devotions

Holiness was its true goal, but not just for him alone. To all, he gave his toolkit for sainthood: daily Mass, Communion, Rosary, Scripture, Eucharistic adoration, weekly Confession, and the willingness to give up something for others. Charles also regularly offered up his sacrifices and prayed for the reparation of sins and offenses committed against the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which he felt alive and throbbing in the consecrated Host. 

Carlo often prayed for the Pope, then John Paul II, and with a degree of passion that astonished his parish priest. Those who met the young man were left with an indelible impression that Jesus is, as ever was, the only one who can satisfy the heart of man. 

It is impossible to talk about Carlo without mentioning his strong devotion to the Blessed Mother. He was fascinated by the apparitions in Lourdes and Fatima, and often spoke about Saint Bernadette Soubirous and the Little Shepherds of Fatima. Our Lady's messages of conversion, penance, and prayer - all this was lived concretely in his daily lifeIn a world hardened against the great truths of the Faith, Carlo shook consciences and invited us to look toward Heaven. In the family, in the school, in the midst of society, Carlo was a witness to eternity. 

To quote Carlo: "Our aim has to be the infinite and not the finite. The Infinite is our homeland. We have always been expected in Heaven." [3]

A Missionary of New Media

Carlo created several notable websites, one dedicated to young saints. He had a keen interest in those who were able to achieve holiness quickly. The website even included included a section where one could discover how many friends they had in heaven. Such an affable young man, he found friends even in Heaven

Carlo demonstrated an amazing zeal and maturity for missionary work given his age, possibly due to another of his great friends in Heaven ...

Carlo's efforts were that of a true missionary: to reach as many people as possible and to introduce them to the beauty and joy of friendship with Jesus. Carlo took as his model St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, who committed himself to bring the Gospel to every corner of the globe even to the point of martyrdom.  

Carlo was inspired by the works of fellow Italian Blessed James Alberione, who was himself also inspired by the Apostle Paul. Blessed James was the Founder of the Paulines and the Daughters of St. Paul. Both Blessed James and the religious societies he founded are recognized for putting new forms of media at the service of the Gospel. 

The Eucharist

Carlo maintained his curiosity without succumbing to mainstream interests: "All people are born as originals but many die as photocopies." To move towards this destination and not “die as photocopies,” Carlo said that our compass has to be the Word of God. The Eucharist was his true north. Carlo put the Sacrament of the Eucharist at the center of his life and he called it "my highway to heaven." (3)

In 2002, Carlo accompanied his parents to listen to a priest friend speak at a presentation of the Little Eucharistic Catechism. He was fascinated by what he learned. 

Carlo had an idea ...

He would create an exhibition on Eucharistic miracles. He said, "They must be able to see." Carlo wanted people to understand that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist by showing the moments throughout history when the Eucharist visibly became flesh and blood. 

This was the confluence of all of Carlo's great loves: He wanted people to encounter the Eucharist and be reconciled to God by renewing the Miracle of the True Prescence. Carlo wanted to show people that the Eucharist truly is his great friend, Jesus. 

Carlo immediately set to work by documenting the Eucharist miracles himself. He began dragging his parents across Europe to gather photographs of the miracles, themselves. 

After two and a half years, the exhibition was ready. He had cataloged all the Eucharistic miracles in world history. Immediately, dioceses across the world began requesting the exhibit (www.miracolieucaristici.org). 




Carlo had researched over “136 Eucharistic miracles that occurred over the centuries in different countries around the world, and have been acknowledged by the Church” and collected them into a virtual museum.[4] He created not only a website to house this virtual museum, but panel presentations, as well, that have traveled around the world.

According to the introductory panel, “In the United States alone, thanks to assistance from the Knights of Columbus, The Cardinal Newman Society and The Real Presence Association, with the support of Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, it has been hosted in thousands of parishes and more than 100 universities.” 

Carlo's exhibit soon crisscrossed the globe. It would reach all the places that he would never get to visit in life

A Death Too Soon

In early October 2006, Carlo fell ill. He had just completed a video, a labor of love, with the students of the Leo XIII high school. A few days later, he was being wheeled into the hospital of San Gerardo in Monza, Italy, a hospital founded by Saint Gerard, himself.  

Carlo soon received his diagnosis ... 

Crossing the threshold of the hospital, Carlo said to his mother: "From here I do not go out anymore!"

The diagnosis was acute promyelocytic leukemia. A few days earlier, Carlo told his parents: "I offer what I will have to suffer to the Lord for the Pope and for the Church, to skip Purgatory and go straight to Heaven." 

Shortly after receiving his diagnosis, Carlo died on October 12, 2006. He died with a radiant smile on his face and offering his life for the Pope and for the Church. 

He was buried in Assisi, the city of Saint Francis. On the day of his funeral, the church and the churchyard was flooded with his many friends and admirers. His mother describes the scene: "I have never seen people like this before." People filled the grieving mother's ears with stories about what Carlo had done, stories she had never heard. 

The Impact of a Life

Having already reached so many through his international exhibit and internet ministry, Carlo's death had an immediate impact. Thousands of letters and emails reached the family. 

Carlo's exhibit of Eucharistic miracles has reached the ends of the earth many times over, presented in Russia, Latin America, and even China. In the United States, thanks to the help of the Knights of Columbus, it has been hosted by thousands of parishes and hundreds of universities.

What was so special about Carlo? 

He welcomed and loved Jesus as a friend, while still living deeply immersed in the world of today, mastering computer programming, film editing, website creation, and even editing comics by the age of 15. Despite being immersed in media so fraught with temptation, the Gospel thrived at his touch and to such an extent that he will probably become the Patron of the Internet. 

Carlo remains an inspiration, especially to teenagers who struggle to be both holy and “normal,” while remaining unique as an individual. 

Carlo wrote that "We are all born as originals, but many die as photocopies." He survived the Xerox machine of modernity and the internet and actually thrived within it. In doing so, he showed each of us the path forward, giving us a means to navigate: Our Compass, he said, has to be the Word of God, which we have to keep constantly before us. Also, "Our Goal must be the infinite, not the finite. The Infinite is our homeland. We have always been expected in Heaven." 

Just after five years of canonical norms, the Diocese of Milan immediately started the process of beatification. On Thursday, November 24, 2016, Cardinal Angelo Scola closed the diocesesan phase in the canonization process.[4] The next stage in the canonization process is to send all the biographical works accumulated, perhaps even this one, to Rome to be reviewed by the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. If approved, the cause for Carlo Acutis will proceed and the Holy Father can declare him “Venerable.”

If you encounter any miracles due to Carlo's intercession or if you can share stories of his impact, especially on youth, please comment below or contact me directly! 

Please also remember to share the story of this amazing young man!



[1] "The Saint of the Month: Blessed Carlo Acutis, possible future patron of the web," Parrocchia Santa Maria Assunta
[2] "Italy moved by teen who offers life for the Church and the Pope," Catholic News Agency, Oct 24, 2007.
[3] "Biography," The Carlo Acutis Association and the Cause of Beatification of the Servant of God Carlo Acutis, official website.
[4] “Computer geek” takes one more step toward sainthood," by Philip Kosloski, Dec 3, 2016.
- The Official website of the CARLO ACUTIS Association and the Cause of Beatification of the Servant of God Carlo Acutis, "Biography"

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this. I had not heard of Bl. Carlo before. Also exemplary youth are Bl. Chiara Luce Badano and Ven. Pauline-Marie Jaricot...

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    1. Great! Thanks for the recommendations! I'll look both of these up :)

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