17 OctoberSouth transept Spire-G71

Contardo Ferrini was born in Milan in 1859. A child prodigy, he graduated in law at the age of 21, and after specialising in Berlin, he already taught Roman Law at the University of Pavia and in other Italian cities at 24. But Contardo is not only a jurist and esteemed researcher. In fact, while studying, he grew up in a family devoted to God and to prayer, a setting that developed his intense spirituality. With his «silent apostolate» and his lifestyle centred on meditation and frequent confessions, he spoke of God even to those who were far from the Church, to the indifferent, and to atheists. Committed to several charitable activities, for four years he was also Municipal Councillor of Milan, where he did his utmost to preserve religious teaching in primary schools. He was also one of the first to support the project for a Catholic university in Italy. His feast day is 17 October, the date of his death due to typhoid fever. Pious XII proclaimed him blessed in 1947. The original statue of Blessed Contardo Ferrini was sculpted using the model presented to the commission of Veneranda Fabbrica by Giovanni Jacopi around 1951. The figure portrays a man with moustache (the typical Austrian moustache of the 1800s) attired in bourgeois clothes. Wrapped in a long cloak, the Blessed looks straight ahead, holding a book in his hand, perhaps a law book or a Bible, an element that in any case represents him in the dual role of religious person and man of remarkable culture. In fact, he was assuredly an important figure also for Italy’s socio-cultural identity in the late 1800s.