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Exclusive: Carlo Acutis as seen by his mother

Marinella Bandini - published on 10/21/21 - updated on 10/10/23

What was the boy's secret to holiness? Carlo Acutis' mother reflects on her saintly son.

What was Carlo Acutis like up close? What was it like to live with him? His mother, Antonia Salzano, tells us in an interview with Aleteia. “You could feel Christ’s presence near Carlo,” she says.

Both she and her husband realized early on that he was very special. “When he was very small, I used to joke around, calling him ‘little Buddha’ because I used to say he was enlightened… He was always so generous, so good, so altruistic, polite, and obedient…”

He also had a deep faith, which was unusual given that his parents hadn’t been to church in years.

His daily life

Carlo went to Mass every day, went to Eucharistic adoration, and prayed the Rosary daily.

In addition, of course, like all boys of his age, he went to school, did his homework, and played soccer—”but very badly.”

“But this ordinary life became extraordinary because everything he did, he did in Jesus, for Jesus. In everything he did, he asked himself: ‘Will this please Jesus?’ ‘Can I do it for Jesus?'”

In everything he did, he asked himself: ‘Will this please Jesus?’ ‘Can I do it for Jesus?'”

Carlo “was aware that God is always by our side,” and “anyone who was near Carlo sensed Jesus.”

Antonia also returned to her faith thanks to her son’s example, and to his embarrassing questions….

“Since he was a little boy he’d ask me questions about Jesus, about Our Lady, about the guardian angels, or the lives of the saints, and I was terribly ignorant…”

Carlo Acutis had many talents and always put them at the service of others. He was especially attentive to the needs of the weakest and poorest, both from the material point of view—he helped fellow students and took blankets and food to the homeless, even depriving himself of some “extras” and reprimanding his “wasteful” mother—and from the spiritual point of view: he was a catechist, and made exhibitions on the Internet including one about Eucharistic miracles, which became popular around the world and made him famous.

“What animated him was this love for Jesus. He wanted to infect others; he wanted to help others.”

His death

His death when he was just 15 years old revealed to everyone who Carlo Acutis really was, and how a simple faith can really change the world. His mother recounts: “Witnessing the death of my son I actually thought to myself: ‘this is a saint.’ He never complained, he was always smiling… Carlo truly experienced his death as an encounter with the Beloved.”

Carlo truly experienced his death as an encounter with the Beloved.

Fifteen years later, Carlo Acutis was beatified, and his body was found whole (though not technically incorrupt), in particular his heart.

“The heart is the symbol of love” and “Carlo’s secret is Christ, Love.”

Love moved him to open himself to whomever he met, even with a simple “hello.”

The Love with which he nourished himself in the Eucharist, the source of love, wanted everyone to know him.

At the funeral of Carlo Acutis the church was so full that many had to remain outside.

“I thought: How did he know these people? They were all friends that Carlo had made in his daily life, when he went to buy something at the supermarket or passed by on his way to school.”

Here’s the secret: 

“If you put Christ at the center and act out of love for God, it’s as if your whole life were illuminated, as if the sun suddenly made everything shine. That was Carlo’s life. That was Carlo.”

Carlo Acutis
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