Giovannangelo Porro is believed to be a member of the family Porro who lived at Appiano Gentile near Lake Como. "Porro" and "Porri" are interchangeable in Italy, "o" being the singular ending and "i" being the plural one.  More details are given under Biographies/Baldisaro Porri.

Giovannangelo was born in 1451 in Milan to a noble family. His father died when Giovannangelo was 18 and he entered the religious order of the Servants of St Mary (which is on the site of the present church of St Carlo) where he trained to be a monk. In the summer of 1474 he went to a convent in Florence where he became ordained as a priest. In 1477 he removed himself to the Monastery of Senario where he devoted himself to mediation, fasting and flagellation. He saw visions and became known to the population as a saintly man and people would come and visit him hoping he would be able to perform miracles. He eventually returned to Milan where because of the years of fasting and hardship he died in October 1505.

When the people of Milan heard of his death they flocked to see his body and after the funeral service it was found that it was impossible to move the coffin and they took this as a sign from God that he wanted his servant's body displayed. 

It became a place of pilgrimage and a seriously ill young child called Carlo Borromeo was brought by his Mother to see the body of Giovannangelo so that a miracle could be prayed for. The child was cured and he went onto become the Archbishop Of Milan. He was so gratefully to Giovannangelo that he removed a small bone from the Blessed's foot and carried it as a reminder of his cure.


Giovannangelo body remained intact and did not decay and this was seen as another sign of his goodness and in 1737 Pope Clement X11 beatified Giovannangelo. His Feast day is the 25th of October.

A new church of Saint Carlo was built on the site in 1846 and a special chapel was dedicated to the Blessed Porro with his body on display in a glass coffin.

The article below was Translated by my cousin Liz from an Italian Brochure about The Blessed Porro

Blessed Giovannangelo Porro

Biographical Notes

Giovannangelo Porro was born in 1451, perhaps at Barlassina near Seveso (in the duchy of Milan), where his father Protasio was a resident some years later.

Following the death of his father, around the time Giovannangelo was 18, he left his mother (Franceschina of Guenzate) and his brothers and he entered the monastery of the Servants of Mary of Milan, where he followed a course to be a novice and took up the monastic profession.

In the summer of 1474 Giovannangelo Porro was in Florence, in the monastery of the Annunciation, where he seems to have remained for 3 years. In this period he undertook studies and was ordained as a parish priest. In the meantime his specific vocation emerged: In 1477, he went to Monte Senario, where he remained for about 20 years. This place had been established by seven Holy Fathers of the Order in 1240 and then restored in the early 14 th Century by a group of fervent believers.

At the end of 1488, unwell, he left the mountain to go down to the Basilica of the Annunication in Florence and then spent a few months as Prior in the Hermitage of Our Lady of Grace in Chianti.

Before returning to Milan, almost certainly after 1495, it seems he temporarily lived at Cavacuta a small monastery in the province of Lodi. In Milan he was appointed on the organisers of a reform programme.

He died there, on 23 rd October 1505, in the monastery where he had been a novice.

His body, almost incorruptible, was preserved for public veneration in the same place in which the ancient monastery of servants had been established. It is now the Church of Saint Charles Borromeo. Moreover, St Charles Borromeo, as a child had been cured through the intercession of Giovannangelo Porro.

His Character

It seems that Giovannangelo had a delicate constitution (to judge from his illnesses) but was above all, sensitive and refined, as the minute Humanistic script which he used would suggest.

The principal characteristics of his religious image are simplicity, poverty, austerity and his constant devotion to prayer; in other words he embodied, above all, the best contemplative tradition of the Holy Order.

His simplicity and poverty were great, and this is shown also in the inventory of the clothing of the monastery of the Annunciation in Florence in 1474 when the monk who looked after the clothing of the other monks found nothing in his cell to record except a pair of torn sheets. Moreover, according to Brother Philip of Bologna, who occasionally shared a cell with him, he preferred to sleep on the floor.

The small amount of money that he received for clothing, as did all those in the monastery; he gave as alms for charity.

He was a true brother, without any wish to appear, or to become, someone of importance; and this revealed by his choice of a monastery. He had a deeply contemplative mind and he lived for a long time following in the footsteps of the original seven saints of the Order of Servi.

The Spontaneous popular veneration of Giovannangelo Porro, which developed immediately after his death, was approved by Pope Clement X11 in 1737. His feast day is 25 th October.


Brother Giovannangelo

Man of the happy and contemplative life

To think of you in veneration

In the heart of Milan

Comfort us and help us to be

Today as yesterday

Always turning towards Eternity

And to make of ourselves strong companions

Amid the busy life of the city

Of every hungry and thirsty seeker after Eternal Life.

Make of us faithful guardians

Of silence and of hearing

Within an inner quiet space:

The only creative space for dialogue and communion

Within the solitude of every great city

O lord support for us Blessed Giovannangelo, he who gave a shining example of the withdrawn and contemplative life and of a zeal for teaching the Holy Word, so that with our hearts fixed in you, we may persevere in evangelical life and apostolic fervour.


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