|Born||1631, Aviano, Venice|
|Beatified||2003 by John Paul II|
Marco d'Aviano (1631-1699) was a Capuchin friar. Born Carlo Domenico Cristofori in Aviano, Republic of Venice (now Italy), he was attracted to a life of martyrdom and religious conquest from a young age. At the age of 16 he tried to reach the island of Crete where the Venetians were at war with the Ottoman Turks. Arriving at a Capuchin convent, he was welcomed by the superior who, after providing him with food and rest, advised him to return home.
Deeply inspired by his encounter with the Capuchins, he felt that God was calling him to enter the order. In 1648, he entered the novitiate of the Capuchins. A year later, he professed his vows and was given the name "Friar Mark of Aviano". His ministry entered a new phase in 1664 when he received the "licence to preach" throughout the Republic of Venice and other Italian states, especially during Advent and Lent. He was also given more responsibility when he was elected superior of the convent of Belluno in 1672, and of the convent of Oderzo in 1674.
Marco d'Aviano's life changed unexpectedly on 1676 when he gave his blessing to a nun who had been bedridden for some 13 years. Upon receiving Friar Mark's blessing, she was healed. The news of the "miraculous blessing" spread, and it was not long before the sick came to him in search of his blessing.
Among those who sought his help and counsel was Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor. From 1680 until his death, Marco d'Aviano assisted Leopold I, offering him spiritual guidance and advice for every sort of problem: political, economic, military and religious. Marco d'Aviano was also appointed by Pope Innocent XI as Apostolic Nuncio and Papal Legate. An impassioned preacher, Marco d'Aviano played an important role in maintaining unity among the 'Holy League' armies of Austria, Poland, Venice, and the Papal States under the leadership of the Polish king Jan III Sobieski. In the decisive Battle of Vienna (1683), the 'Holy League' armies succeeded in repulsing the invading Ottoman Turks. There is, however, no basis in fact for the legend that, during the fighting, Marco d'Aviano brandished a crucifix at the Turks, shouting, 'Behold the Cross of the Lord: Flee, enemy bands!' He spent the time of the battle praying in a chapel.
From 1683 to 1689 he participated in the military campaigns in the role of promoting good relations within the Imperial army and to help the soldiers spiritually. His assistance helped to bring about the liberation of Buda in 1686 and Belgrade in 1688.
A popular myth concerning d'Aviano says that he invented the Cappuccino after the Battle of Vienna. No mention of this occurs in any of d'Aviano's biographies or in any contemporary historical sources. Indeed, the story does not appear until the late 1980s, which indicates that it was possibly made up as a joke.