Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 72(2) May 2022

Book Review

Blessed Carlo Acutis: 5 steps to being a Saint.
By Mgr Anthony Fuigueiredo. Published CTS 2021 £5.95

Reviewed by Jane Gillett

Book Cover - Carlo AcutisCarlo was born in London of Italian parents on 3rd May 1991. He died in Italy aged 15 years on 12th October 2006 of a most aggressive form of leukaemia acute promyelocytic leukaemia.

During his short life, Carlo reached extraordinary holiness and was declared Blessed by Pope Francis on 10th October 2020. This followed the cure of a young child of an eating disorder, through Carlo’s intercession…… so what is the story of his life?

Carlo’s parents were not religious, but HE DRAGGED THEM TO CHURCH! One of the first great influences of his life was his Polish babysitter, Beata, a faithful Catholic who looked after him in those early years. She recalls, visiting the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Pompeii when he was five years old, and of him dedicating himself to Our Lady of Pompeii.

An otherwise “normal” child, Carlo was a natural joker, loved sport and the great outdoors, was bril-liant with the internet and computer technology but was careful to avoid immoral sites. The family lived between their homes in Milan and Assisi and, Carlo insisted the family be consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Carlo had five steps on his road to Sanctity – “His Highway to Heaven”.

STEP ONE: Carlo had a great devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. He held a firm belief in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and received his first Holy Communion on 16th June 1998. His prayer to Jesus on receiving the Sacrament was: “Come right in – make yourself at home!” And Carlo was consoled by the final words of Jesus while He was on earth: “I will be with you always, until the end of time”. Mt 28:20.

STEP TWO Carlo was a daily communicant and always spent time in ADORATION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. “I like to speak to Jesus about all I am living and feeling”. “Sadness is the gaze turned towards oneself- happiness is the gaze turned towards oneself God.” …. Carlo had a great devotion to Saint Francis of Assisi.

STEP THREE Regular CONFESSION was important to Carlo. “In order to rise up high an air balloon needs to shed its weight – just like the soul, which in order to raise itself up to heaven needs to remove small weights: venial sins. It is important to go to confession often, because the soul is very complex.”

STEP FOUR Devotion to the BLESSED MOTHER. “I never fail to keep the most gracious appointment of the day: recitation of the HOLY ROSARY.”

STEP FIVE – Charity. Money, Carlo would say is nothing more than shredded paper! What counts in life if the nobility of the soul. That is to say we love God and our neighbour. So these are Carlo’s FIVE STEPS ON THE HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN. He said: “God has written for each one of us a unique and unrepeat-able story, but he has left us the freedom to write the ending”.

Jane Gillett is a retired midwife