Blessed Grimoaldo Santamaria was born on 4 February 1883 in Pontecorvo, Italy, the first of five children. As a teenager, he joined the Confraternity of Mary Immaculate and had a fruitful apostolate among his peers. He faithfully attended church with great devotion, and served as an altar boy and was part of the parish choir. He was very distressed if he could not go to church because he had to work. His father wanted him to enter the family business and become a rope maker at any cost. One day the boy pointed thoughtfully to the river flowing beneath their house and said in a very serious tone, “Life flows like water… Our days quickly pass away… And then what?” Grimoaldo already understood that his brief earthly life was a preparation for eternal life.
At the age of 16, overcoming many difficulties with tenacious resolve, he entered the Passionist novitiate at Paliano (Frosinone) where on 5 March 1899 he was vested with the religious Habit and on 6 March of the following year, he consecrated himself to the Lord with his Profession of Vows. In the monastery, Grimoaldo proceeded along the path to holiness that he had initially undertaken as a child in his family and in his parish.
He prepared himself for ordination through prayer and study in the monastery of Ceccano (Frosinone). After merely two years, he was stricken with acute meningitis. Grimoaldo often repeated that he wanted to accept the disease as the will of God. He asked his confreres to assist him in his illness with their prayers. He stated that he was “overjoyed to do God’s will.” He died on 18 November 1902, as “the sun set … calmly, serenely and peacefully, like a child who gently rests in the arms of his mother.” He was only 19 years old. He was declared blessed by Pope St. John Paul II on 29 January 1995.
Grimoaldo celebrated the gift of life and the grace of vocation on the altar of every day life. Gentle and serene, he was admired for his simplicity of life and his amazing perseverance in the face of illness; for his love of recollection and contemplative prayer, and his penitential practices; for his love for Christ Crucified and his filial devotion to the Immaculate Virgin Mary.
Almighty God, you continually provide new models of Christian life for your holy Church. In the example of Blessed Grimoaldo of the Purification grant us also the grace to imitate his filial devotion to the Immaculate Virgin and his generous practice of fraternal charity that, like him, we may become a most pleasing fragrance of Christ on earth and thus receive the reward of eternal life. This we ask through Christ Our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.