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