Italy / Biography

Don Aldo Mei


Aldo Mei was born in Ruota di Capannori in 1912 and joined the seminary in 1925. During the war he preached against the spread of hatred. He offered refuge to the persecuted and assistance to the poor.

He was ordained a priest in 1935 and became parish priest of Fiano, a small, very poor community whose church was still under construction. He was involved in founding the parish kindergarten and strengthening Azione Cattolica (Catholic Action).

On 2 August 1944, immediately after celebrating Mass, he was arrested by the Germans during a round-up.

He was locked up in the Pia Casa di Lucca, Trial summarily for sheltering the young Jew Adolfo Cremisi (he was part of Monsignor. Artuto Paoli network) and administering communion to partisans (he had set up an altar on Monte Acuto for this); and Capital punishment. In vain was the last-ditch attempt to save him byArchdiocese of Lucca monsignor Antonio Torrini.

At 10 p.m. on 4 August 1944he was led by a platoon of SS under the ramparts of the Walls of Lucca near Porta Elisa: he was forced to dig his own tomb and was killed with 28 shots from rifle. Before being shot, as Christ, he wanted to forgive and bless his murderers. And he left a message of hope for his parents.

The next morning, having obtained permission from the German Command, the exhumed body was moved to the Barbantini sisters’s facilities in Lucca, Via Elisa.

As early as 1945, a marble memorial stone was placed at the execution site.

In 1966, a statue was erected in Fiano, where in 1987 his body was interred in the parish church and a small museum was set up in the rectory.

The beatification process was also started in 1968.

In 1977, the Ministry of Defence and the President of the Republic awarded him the Silver Medal of Military Valour (in memoriam).

Capannori also named the local secondary school after him.