RARE Daily

A Patron Saint of the Internet

October 15, 2020

Carlo Acutis was a computer whiz kid with a sweet tooth who loved the Internet, video games, and Jesus. He died in 2006 from the rare cancer acute myeloid leukemia in Monza, Italy at the age of 15.

Pope Francis over the weekend beatified Acutis in Assisi, Italy, where hundreds gathered to see him. The beatification is the first step toward canonization by the Roman Catholic Church.

Dressed in his favorite jeans and Nike sneakers, Acutis’ body, which had been exhumed, lay in a glass windowed tomb. Among the people who gathered to view his body were poor people in the city who benefitted from Acutis’ generosity. He knew homeless people in the city and provided them with meals and sleeping bags.

The beatification generated headlines around the world in part because Acutis could become the first millennial saint. Pope Francis attributed the healing of a boy in Brazil with a rare pancreatic condition to Carlo after he and his mother prayed to Acutis and the boy held one of his shirts, which Acutis’ mother had sent the child.

The Pope would need to recognize a second miracle attributed to Acutis for him to be canonized. Acutis’ mother has told reporters that she has heard from many people around the world who told her of medical miracles they experienced after praying to her son.

Acutis taught himself to program computers at the age of nine and that same year launched a website called The Eucharistic Miracles of the World, which offers a list of miracles. He continued to use the Internet to spread the gospel. It is for that reason that he has become known among some Catholics as the patron saint of the Internet.

Though there are more than 10,000 saints, if Carlo is recognized as one he will be one of only 120 children and teenagers who have been canonized.

Religious beliefs aside, it’s a reminder of the power of someone with a rare condition to affect the lives of others. 

it seems fitting that someone who died of a rare disease is being called the patron saint of the Internet because of the role the web has played in empowering rare disease patients, connecting them with each other, and advancing research.

That the miracle that the Pope attributed to him involved a boy with a rare disease also made me smile as it’s a reminder of the power rare disease patients have to help and heal each other.


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