St. Orso of Aosta
Leaving his native Ireland and traveling to Italy, Orso evangelized in the region of Aosta, bordering Switzerland and France in Italy's extreme northwest comer. There are still today churches named after him in the Alps where Aosta is a small town. There are great festivals, bearing his name, every year, in his honor. He was a man of great faith who had a speaking style that made him an effective missionary and preacher. A staunch opponent of Arianism, Orso spoke vehemently against those who espoused such heresy.
Tradition holds that as a result of his evangelical mission, a thousand years later, none would follow any but the Church of Rome. In addition to gaining scores of new converts, Orso also gained the attention of Bishop Jucundus, and was appointed Archdeacon of Aosta. Following the bishop's death, Orso and several church canons relocated to the Church of St. Peter near Aosta. He is credited with many miracles, including one that took place on a particularly hot summer day. As he listened to the people of the town complaining of a lack of water, the Saint recalled the passage in Mark 9:23: "I do believe, Lord, help my unbelief." With that truth as his inspiration, Orso tapped a nearby rock with his staff, and water immediately flowed forth in a stream. The spring, known locally as Saint Bear's Fountain, continues to flow today.
The Church of St. Peter, where Orso spent so many years, was later renamed the Collegiate Church of SS. Peter and Orso. Today every year thousands of visitors tour the church, where the Saint's relics rest in a crypt. Several other memorials to Orso are found in Aosta, including chapels and hospitals.
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