Further Information about Saint Giovanni Farina
In 1831 in Vicenza he founded the first school for poor girls and in 1836, the Institute of the Sisters Teachers of St Dorothy, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts, to supply suitable teachers. He wanted his religious also to care for deaf mutes, blind girls and the psychologically handicapped. They nursed the sick and the elderly in hospital and at home. There was no form of suffering that this farsighted founder overlooked.
In 1850 Fr Farina was appointed Bishop of Treviso. Here he undertook a variety of pastoral initiatives, forming his priests and laity for evangelization and Catholic Action.
Throughout his ten-year term, canonical problems with the Cathedral Chapter caused him constant suffering and setbacks. Here he was able to follow the preparation of Giuseppe Sarto (the future St Pius X) for the priesthood ordaining him in 1858.
In 1860 he was transferred to Vicenza. Despite the turbulent period in Italian history, during his 28 years as bishop he embarked on an ambitious pastoral programs that included the spiritual and cultural formation of the priests and of the laity for evangelization, the reform of studies and discipline in the seminary, and the organization of associations for the care of the poor. He was called the “Bishop of Charity”.
In 1889 he was able to hold a diocesan synod. He was devoted to pastoral visits and visited every parish, even those that had never seen a bishop.
His strength ebbed after a serious illness in 1886, and he died from a stroke in Vicenza on March 4, 1888. His compassionate treatment of the poor and his enlightened views on teachers and education make Bishop Farina one of the more outstanding bishops of the 19th century.
Today, the institute he founded is involved in education as well as health care and pastoral assistance in many countries.