blessed ugolino zefferini

Blessed Ugolino was remarkable for his apostolic commitment, his innocence of life, and his devotion to the passion of the Lord.

Ugolino Zefferini was born in Cortona (Arezzo), Italy, around the year 1320. Due to civil strife, his family was banished from the city and forced to flee to Mantua when Ugolino was still an infant. In Mantua he was employed as a page at the court of the Gonzagas, but was ill at ease with the life of the court. He found much support and guidance in the counsel of an Augustinian friar, whom he chose as his confessor and spiritual director, from the monastery of Saint Agnes in the same city. In 1336, at the age of sixteen, Ugolino entered the Augustinian Order in the monastery of Saint Agnes. In 1354, already a priest, he was able to return to his native city of Cortona where he devoted himself in an exceptional degree to the apostolate. He spent the last years of his life in solitude as a hermit.

Ugolino died about the year 1367. Ugolino’s remains are venerated in the church of Saint Augustine in Cortona.

His feast is celebrated by the Augustinian Family on 22 March.

Over a century and a half after his death, on 17 December 1508, while on visitation, the prior general, Giles of Viterbo, noted in his Registers:

We detained ourselves in Cortona, and, opening the tomb, viewed the body of Ugolino. Seeing it, his appearance and expression appeared so blessed that it seemed fitting to us that God had glorified him with so many miracles. We were also taken back by the neglect of the Order, since it had forgotten him and had not sought to have a fellow religious who had lived a saintly life inscribed in the list of saints. He was more loved by strangers than by his own. While his confreres had abandoned him, the people of Cortona this very year, having consulted with the senate, took him as an advocate and protector.