inspiring painting by Rogerio Martins, a famous artist from Pernambuco,
portrays Frei Daniel, already suffering from the debilitating illness,
leaning against a bamboo cross. The Crucifix is firmly planted in the ground,
bisects the state of Brazil and vanishes into the sky. Frei Daniel, made
greater by his suffering, touches it with his bandaged hand, thus the cross,
already bright, radiates even more amidst the green leaves and the beautifully
colored flowers that climb around the wood. The geographic silhouette of
Brazil along which the cross is painted, wraps around the body of the friar
like a blanket and Frei Daniel, his other hand to his heart, seems to embrace
the nation which had become so dear to him when he was only 22. The powerful
message of the portrait and the beauty of the colors cannot easily be described,
but we feel it gives the reader a good idea of the gigantic figure of Frei
Daniel from Samarate.
He was born into a family of very poor farmers on June 15, 1876, in Samarate, which at that time was part of the Province of Milan. Their wealth was God! His parents, Pasquale Rossini and Giovanna Paccioretti, have him baptized with the name of Felice, which in Italian means "Happy". The people from his town remember him as a very bright, happy, lively boy-albeit a little restless-and as a devout altar boy with a clear tendency to reflection and prayers. Therefore, it is no surprise when the fourteen year old Felice wants to enter the order of the Capuchins. The parish priest recommends him with a letter that later proves to be prophetic: "This young man who wishes to enter the order of the Capuchins will turn out exceedingly well; he will be the joy and the consolation of his superiors and the entire Order. " The Capuchins accept him, and when he takes the habit as a novice he is given his new name of Frate Daniele from Samarate by the Prior of the Novices. The name Daniele had no special significance at that time, therefore we could not foresee the biblical coincidences that would later emerge because the name "Daniele" means "the man of the wishes." It is uplifting, however, to know that so many years after his death, the name imposed during the liturgical ceremony is still invoked by an increasing number of persons who venerate him and ask him to intercede for them. This name has become so revered that even the town of Samarate is now an object of interest and veneration. Many Brazilian mothers are naming their sons "Di Samarate. " It is incredible, but true.