Daniel happily starts his new life in the Order of the Capuchins and in
1896, when he is only 20 years old, he becomes "solemn professed". He studies
theology and looks forward to fulfilling his great dream: to become a Missionary.
His heart filled with ardor and enthusiasm, he asks to become a Missionary.
superiors accept his request and on August 8, 1898, although not yet ordained,
he sails off for Brazil in the company of Father Superior, Frei Rinaldo
Panigada from Paullo, the future martyr of Alto Alegre, who had come to
Italy to recruit young missionaries. After a trip that lasted a few months,
Frei Daniel arrives at Canindé (Cearà) where he continues
to study theology with great ardor, and starts learning Portuguese in order
to fully devote himself to the service of those people.
March 19, 1899, the feast of St. Joseph, he is ordained and a few days
later, on the 25th, the Feast of Annunciation, he celebrates his First
Mass in the Sanctuary of S. Francesco das Chagas (Stigmata) in Canindé.
Let us remember this detail when we reach the conclusion of this story.
At the beginning of the new century, on February 22, 1900, Frei Daniel
is sent to the Agricultural Colonia de S. Antonio do Prata in the state
of Parà, as a director of the young Indios who are studying at the
local boarding school. The love of Christ and his great missionary fervor
help him start his new assignment with commitment and enthusiasm. In the
meantime, dramatic events are brewing as if to test the spirit of initiative,
the courage and the Christian virtues of Frei Daniel.
March 13, 1901, at dawn, a catastrophic event hits the Mission: four Capuchin
friars, seven Capuchin nuns and between 250-300 Christians are murdered
by a group of Indios Guajajaras who do not tolerate the discipline established
by the Capuchins.
Carlo Roveda from S. Martino Olearo, the glorious founder of the Mission,
now Father Superior of Colonia do Prata where Frei Daniel has been working
for only a few months, is overcome with grief at the news of this horrible
tragedy. When he sees the unburied remains that have rapidly deteriorated
because of the cruel action of the wild animals and the weather, he breaks
down mentally and physically, and is struck with amnesia. The whole administration
of the Colonia then becomes the responsibility of the young and inexperienced
Frei Daniel, who is only 25 years old. We can see in this the design of
the Divine Providence that can perform wondrous things even amidst the
rage of evil. A short time later, bowing to the vow of Obedience, Frei
Daniel becomes the Father Superior, taking on the whole responsibility
of the Colonia. He begins his endless trips to Belem, the capital of Para,
to try to obtain from the government the subsidy to support the Colonia.
So many times he returns empty handed and has to assuage the people by
finding ingenious solutions to all the problems created by the lack of
wonder he was called "0 Gigante do Prata" a giant of efficiency, of initiative,
of good will.