Silvio Dissegna: a Child’s Body, a Hero’s Heart


The Perneo parish will tomorrow commemorate Venerable Silvio Dissegna, who died on September 24, 1979, of bone cancer, at the age of 12. During his illness, Silvio revealed that his small stature hid a great strength of soul.

Newsroom (25/09/2021 5:50, Gaudium Press) Silvio Dissegna was born on July 1, 1967, feast of the Blood of Christ. Born of Catholic parents and educated according to Christian teachings, Venerable Silvio had an intimate relationship with Our Lord Jesus Christ from an early age. As soon as he understood the true meaning of the Eucharist, his only desire was to receive the Eucharistic Jesus. One of his first and greatest joys was to learn how to pray.

Silvio was an ordinary boy: he played happily, went to school, but one thing distinguished him from the others: his desire to be like Our Savior. This is how Silvio expressed himself in his notes: “Jesus is so good that I want to be too”.

Indeed, his desire and concern for others was a remarkable quality during his few years of life. Once, his mother gave him a typewriter as a gift. Little Silvio thanked her by typing his first message: “I thank you Mama, because you made me come into the world, because you gave me life, which is so beautiful! I feel so much desire to live!” 

The Beginning of the Sufferings

But this was not God’s will… far from rebelling, the little servant of the Lord accepted with courage and joy the divine designs.

In 1978, at the age of 11, he was diagnosed with bone cancer. Since then he and his parents sought the appropriate methods for treatment, but Silvio knew his condition and was in God’s hands. It was during the period of his illness that Silvio showed himself to be the bravery of a hero in a boy’s body.

Greatness of Soul: Reparation and Intentions

Once, going to Paris to undergo treatment, his bed was next to a sick man who spent the whole night blaspheming. Silvio, to make reparation for the horrible blasphemies of his neighbor, recited Hail Marys in tears. 

Silvio knew the strength that his sufferings gave him and did not hesitate to offer them for greater causes. He often declared: “Today I offer my sufferings for the Pope and for the Church” or “I offer (my sufferings) especially for the missionaries”, for the conversion of those who are far from God, for fraternity among human beings, these and other intentions were frequent on the little man’s lips. 

The end of Suffering Draws Near

As his state of health worsened, his awareness of his sufferings also grew: “Sufferings bring me closer to God, they prepare me for serenity and joy in the kingdom of God”; “May each of my pains be a gesture of love for You, Jesus”.

From the beginning of his illness, Silvio received Holy Communion at home. But on September 24, 1979, would be his last encounter on earth with the One who declared “Let the little children come to me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 19:14). Around 9 pm, Silvio breathed his last breath.

Fame of Holiness

The fame of virtue, which was already known, spread rapidly across the continent. In 1995, in Turin, the cause of beatification of Silvio Dissegna was officially opened. Today Silvio is known and loved for his example of courage in the face of suffering. Since 2001, his canonization process has continued in Rome. (FM)

With information from

Compiled by Camille Mittermeier


Share Gaudiumpress English Edition!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here