St. Andrew Corsini, O.Carm.
From the Life of Saint Andrew by Bishop Francesco Venturi
The good and faithful servant whom the Lord places over his household
ANDREW was chosen to rule the church of Fiesole by the evident call of God. He so dedicated himself to the worship of God, looked after the salvation of souls with such vigilance, faithfully persevered in the task entrusted to him with such holiness of life, that in all justice he can be for the pastors of the Church a perfect exemplar of what a bishop should be.
Though he was already advanced in age and afflicted by various illnesses, he increased rather than abated the rigors by which he was accustomed to control his senses. The holy bishop was moved by such kindness and pity towards the needy and afflicted that the very thought of them moved him to tears. It is well known that no poor person left his presence uncomforted. He often sat at the door of his residence and personally distributed bread to the needy. But this holy man's kindness was not restricted to this place; it spread far and wide. He showed himself especially generous with those whom he knew to be in straitened conditions, and yet could not approach him personally because of age, circumstances or social standing. His was a spontaneous open-handedness which foresaw needs; to some he even gave large quantities of grain. His goodness was not reserved for those of his own diocese but overflowed to the citizens of Florence and other places. To all these people he distributed not only alms but also clothing.
The holy bishop expended large sums of money for the construction and restoration of churches. He restored much of the cathedral, which was close to complete ruin, and embellished the facade with cut stone. He had residences built for the canons. He restored and enlarged the bishop's house, where he himself took up residence, so that he might furnish an apt and appropriate dwelling for his successors.
Among his own Carmelite brethren, he showed himself to be a splendid father of his household, providing inspired leadership in the living of religious life. As bishop he provided for the Christian lifestyle of the members of his household. He was constantly vigilant and attentive in safeguarding Church patrimony. At home he was frugal, but generous and even extravagant in what concerned the worship of God and help to the needy.
The holy bishop dedicated much time to settling quarrels among the citizens of Florence. Privately he eliminated hatred by means of friendly conversations; publicly he preached Christian charity and civic harmony. Since he preached well and was held in veneration because of his fame for holiness, many came to hear him, not only from nearby villages but from Florence itself.
This wise leader knew how to temper the rigor of a judge with the gentleness of a pastor. He never tired, year after year, of decreeing that priests reside in their parishes. In the first place, most priests were ignorant of the doctrine of the Church and of their proper duties. Understandably, they were of no benefit to the people; on the contrary, because of their ignorance they were a negative factor, especially in the case of those who by their scandalous lives gave bad example. Consequently, on his canonical visitations of the diocese, the saintly bishop was obliged to examine his clergy as to their knowledge of doctrine. Those whom he found to be little suited for Church offices and for working for the salvation of souls—and their number was great—he removed from their benefices, which he granted to others who were more suited.
We are aware that much of what we have said has frequently been practiced by other pastors of the Church. Some might say that these things are not especially worthy of recall. However, we are of the opinion that whatever the saints have said or done for the increase of divine worship and the good of the people should be proclaimed.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people, and to his holy ones; * and peace will be the fruit of justice.
Lord, give us peace, for all our works are in your hands. * And peace will be the fruit of justice.