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Giuseppe Dossetti

Giuseppe Dossetti was born in Genoa on 13 February 1913. He graduated in Law at Bologna in 1934, and was subsequently summoned to the Università Cattolica in Milan as professor of ecclesiastical law. He took part in the anti-Fascist movement and was later President of the Committee of National Liberation in Reggio Emilia, though refusing to bear arms.

On 2 June 1946 he was elected to the Constituent Assembly as one of the Christian Democrat candidates. Until 1951 he was the leader of the more “social” component of the party, of which he was under-secretary. When his aims were defeated by the more conservative wing of the DC he gave up his political commitment, to take it up again briefly to stand for Mayor of Bologna against the Communist candidate, Dozza.

ImageDefeated, he left politics altogether and pronounced religious vows in the presence of Cardinal Lercaro, who a few months previously had given his approval to the Rule of the monastic community of the “Piccola Famiglia dell’Annunziata”, founded on the principles of “silence, prayer, work and poverty”.

Dossetti, who had already become a Franciscan tertiary, was ordained priest three years later, on the day of the Epiphany. He was thereafter Cardinal Lercaro’s assistant in the diocese of Bologna. After a period spent in the Holy Land he retired to his community in the Bolognese Appennines.

In the last period of his life he once again became engaged in the defence of the Republican Constitution. He died in 1996.

In 1987, ten years after La Pira’s death, Dossetti pronounced a commemorative speech as profound in thought as it was deeply felt.