IN GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE
The following are foreign OSJ priests and brothers who have offered and dedicated themselves
to serve the interests of Jesus in the Philippines.
The list is arranged chronologically according to the year of their arrival in the country.

1915


Rev. Fr. Giuseppe Anfossi, OSJ


He was born on September 3, 1882 in Acqui, Italy. He entered the Congregation as a youth and was ordained priest in 1909. He was very short in stature but full of spirit, gifted with a good way of speech, and with good behavior, especially with the youth. For a while, he was the prefect of the seminarians in the Mother House in Asti and Fr Savino remembers him thus: “Every day he gave us the meditation and led us lovingly.” In 1911, he was given the duty of opening the house of Certaldo near Florence and after two years that of Oleggio in the Province of Novara. He worked very much in the two oratories, and at Oleggio he was also in charge of the formation of the seminarians. In 1915, he led the first group of Missionaries sent to the Philippines. He was the first Superior of that Mission and lived at San Jose. He wrote powerful articles, vibrant with humor for “Defensa”, a Catholic Daily in Manila in the Spanish language. He was dreaming about extending his ministry also to the island of Mindoro. He was very healthy, but the climate , the hard work, and the little care he had for himself, brought his life to an end after six years. On August 20, 1921, he died of paratyphoid at the age of 36 in the hospital in Manila.


Br. Giuseppe Maccagno, OSJ


He was born on April 23, 1862 in Monale d‘Asti, Italy. In 1907, he made the Perpetual Profession and remained in the Novitiate house going to work at the Casabianca during the day. In 1908, he was sent to the agricultural colony of Figliano (Florence) and in 1911 to Certaldo (Florence). When this house was closed in 1913, along with Father Giussepe Anfossi and other confreres, he went to open the new house in Oleggio (Novara). When he was at Certaldo he had told Father Anfossi: “The two of us will cross the sea and we will go far away.” And, in fact, they were part of the first group of five missionaries who went to the Philippines in 1915. He was 53 years old and worked at San Jose and Cuenca, towns of Batangas. He was in charge of the sacristy, of the kitchen and was the treasurer of the house. He did the most humble of jobs, in assistance to Fr. Anfossi, and revered by many because of his good example. But he could not stand the climate and after almost four years in the mission, on July 9, 1919, he died due to dysentery in St Paul‘s hospital in Manila.


Rev. Fr. Ernesto Fornaca, OSJ


He was born on January 24, 1888 in Sessant d‘Asti, Italy. He entered the Congregation at the age of 12 and completed regularly his studies, being ordained priest in Asti in 1913. For a short period, he was teacher and prefect of the minor seminarians in Asti and in Mondovi. In 1915, he left for the Philippines along with the first group of missionaries. There he worked untiringly for 42 years. He was pastor at Ibaan, at San Jose, and at Cuenca. He was the Superior of the mission for two terms of six years each with a short break in between. It was his desire to end his days in the Philippines. But in 1957, he had to return to Italy since he was struck by paralysis. After two years in Italy, he died on September 26, 1959. went to Italy only twice and for a short time, in order to participate in the 3rd and 4th General Chapters in the 1930s. It was his desire to end his days in the Philippines. But in 1957, he had to return to Italy since he was struck by paralysis. After two years in the Mother House in Asti, Italy, he died on September 26, 1959.


Rev. Fr. Eugenio Gherlone, OSJ


He was born on January 28, 1890 in Cossombrato, Asti, Italy. He was ordained a priest in 1914, and the year after he left for the Philippines along with the first group of Oblate missionaries. He was Pastor at Ibaan (1915-1918), Director of the school of San Jose (1918-1920), pastor at Taysan (1920-1921). He became Pastor at San Jose (1921-1928). He was also the Superior of the Mission for six years. On February 15, 1929, he left Asti to Pennsylvania, USA; for six years he was Superior of the Mission and Pastor at Mount Carmel in Pittston. He returned to Pennsylvania and remained there until 1937, the year in which he went to California as Pastor at Madera and Superior of the Mission. In 1945, during the 5th General Chapter he was elected Vicar General of the Congregation. He remained in this office for twelve years. Those were the years when the confreres went to the Philippines and Brazil in order to help confreres who were left there without any help due to the war. Fr Eugenio made a trip to Peru and Bolivia and made an agreement with the Bishops to send Missionaries to these places. Because of this arduous spirit in opening these missions he was known as “the Apostle of three continents.” He died in Asti, Italy on June 13, 1973.


Br. Giovanni Battista Camera, OSJ


He was born in 1888. He was still a junior profesed brother when he joined the first missionaries in the Philipines in 1915. He was first assigned to accompany and assist Fr. Ernesto Fornaca, OSJ in Taysan and in Lobo. In December, 1915, Msgr. Giuseppe Petrelli called him to render service in the Apostolic Delegation in Manila. He described his service in a letter to Fr. Garberoglio, “Here there is plenty of work. I get up at four o‘clock and work until the evening which lets me go at 10:00 pm, without an hour to myself. I am happy to be busy the wholeday, so temptations don’t have time to disturb me . The only trouble is that I still do not understand the languages well.” In 1917, he was transferred to Ibaan. On December 9 of that year, he perpetually profesed the vows. For personal reasons and with the permision of the Superior Council, he left the Congregation in 1922.


1921


Rev. Fr. Vincenzo Prandi, OSJ


He was born in December 30, 1892 in Alba, Italy

A few months after his priestly ordination, he was called to serve as a chaplain in the Italian Light Infantry Corps and was sent, during the whole period of 1915-1918, to the front, in the midst of a raging war. When he returned to the Mother House, he was prefect of the theologians. In 1921, he left as a missionary for the Philippines.

He was the pastor of Taysan and then Cuenca, where he built a church in brickwork replacing a shed-like structure made of wood and bamboo which he also had founded.

In 1932, he became the Superior of the mission and was transferred to San Jose as parish priest. In 1938 he took part in the Fourth General Chapter in Asti.

Few years after he returned to the Philippines, he, together with the other Italian OSJ missionaries, found himself in the war between the Americans and the Japanese. During the Japanese occupation, he experienced several painful hours and threatened repeatedly of having aided and defended his parishioners accused as rebels. He tried to intervene when some of his parishioners were held captive but to no avail. They even bound him and threw him in a hut with the other prisoners. The next day they were carried in a truck to an unknown destination. They had been brought to the bank of a stream where they were gunned down. The others had died instantly, but Fr. Prandi, seriously wounded and fallen into the bed of the dry steam, rose to sit down, making the sign of the cross towards their assassins. So a soldier pierced him through several times with his bayonet. But since he still showed signs of life, that same soldier finished him off by breaking his head with the butt of his rifle. This was on January 27, 1945. His remains were found the almost five months after, on June 6, identified because of some golden teeth and was properly buried in the cemetery of San Jose. He lived 36 years of his life as a religious and 30 years as a priest.


Rev. Fr. Giovanni Boccignone, OSJ


He was born on January 26, 1893 in Montemagno, Alessandria, Italy.

A year after his Perpetual Profession, still a cleric, in 1921 he left for the Philippines. Like other Italian missionaries, he also studied and learned the native language and the local habits and customs. In 1922, he was ordained priest in Lipa, Batangas.

He was first assigned as parish priest of Cuenca. A year after he was assigned in Taysan where he stayed for around thirteen years.

In 1936, he was forced to return to Italy due to his failing health. Late in his life, he became blind and had to abandon all his ministry and activities. He died on June 22, 1959 at the Mother House, Asti.


Rev. Fr. Luigi Mortera, OSJ


He was born in Camiglie d‘Asti, Italy on March 31, 1898.

At the age of nine, he entered the Congregation. He was not even a priest when he joined the second group of missionaries for the Philippines. They left Italy in 1921. He was ordained in Ibaan, Batangas in 1923.

From 1923 to 1938, he worked in the parish of San Jose, Batangas, first as assistant and then as parish priest.

In 1938, he took part in the Fourth General Chapter in Asti. When he returned to the Philippines, he went to Rosario where his brother, Fr. Egidio was staying and later he became its pastor.

During the Second World War, he suffered so much with the atrocities he witnessed from the Japanese invaders. He also saw how they destroyed the convent and the parish church.

He rebuilt his residence as soon as possible and in 1946, he inaugurated also the church, an improvised building just so he could start the life of the parish.

In 1963, with his health very much compromised, he came to Italy to be able to rest for a while. But his plan to return to the country never happened when he suffered a fatal heart attack on October 11, 1963. At his funeral in Asti, Msgr. Olalia, Bishop of Lipa, was present. He lived 46 years as a religious and 40 years as a priest.