His name is Zeffirino Giménez Malla and in 1997, Pope John Paul II proclaimed him the Catholic Church’s first Rom saint, reports Vatican Insider.
Today, 150 years on from his birth and 75years after his martyrdom during the Spanish civil war, Caritas Italia and the Italian Episcopal Conference’s “Migrantes” foundation, have decided to put together an audio book on the figure and life of the saint, which was presented today, in the Vatican Radio offices, in Rome.
The volume is accompanied by a CD entitled You will not see me die. This easy-to-read book, aims to open the doors to a world that is as unknown as the Rom and Sinti world.
The President of the Italian Episcopal Conference Commission for Migration, Mgr. Bruno Schettino, explained that the publication aims to show “benevolence towards Roms and Sintis” and “affection to the poor and destitute,” on behalf of the Church.
In her introduction, Italian writer, Susanna Tamaro wrote: “It is easy for us to feel good, tolerant and democratic through words. We sign appeals and manifestos, we fight for the cause of the poorest sections of society, but once the emergency is over, we return a life in shackles which is full of fear and prejudice. Zefirino was not like that, he was not two-faced.”
The writer went on to say that “this giant, good gypsy who was incapable of showing distrust or prejudice, showed us the way to freedom. He showed us how to break free from the chains of resentment and our demands which we seem so wrapped up in, in today’s world.”
According to the director of the “Migrantes” foundation, Mgr Giancarlo Perego: “the holiness of gypsy Zeffirino joins the individuals of all peoples, nations and languages that have been called to sainthood. Zeffirino’s simple holiness makes him a family and popular educator.”
FULL STORY Zefirino the Blessed Gypsy saint (Vatican Insider)