Who was Carlo Acutis? ‘God’s influencer’, 15, is set to be made a saint by Pope Francis a


At the age of just three, Carlo Acutis dragged his own mother to Mass. 

Within a few short years, the precocious young Catholic had converted her to full-blown Christianity – with priests remarking that he was on a ‘special mission’ for the Church.

Indeed, London-born Carlo had written as a seven-year-old: ‘My life plan is to be always close to Jesus’.

Remarking on his extraordinary life, cut short by leukaemia in 2006 aged 15, his mother Antonia Salzano said: ‘This is a mystery to me. But many saints had special relationships with God from an early age, even if their family was not religious.’ 

Ms Salzano now refers to her late son as her ‘savior’ as Carlo taught her more and more about his faith and credits him with her conversion into Christianity. 

Born in London in 1991 to an Italian mother and a half-English, half-Italian father who was working in the UK as a merchant banker, Carlo grew up in Milan where he took care of his parish website and later that of a Vatican-based academy. 

From the age of three Carlo would donate his pocket money to the poor and later at school supported victims of bullying and spent his evenings cooking and delivering meals to the homeless

Carlo’s devotion to his faith were unwavering, telling his parents in his final words: ‘I die happy because I didn’t spend any minutes of my life in things God doesn’t love.’

Even after his death, the youngster, informally known as ‘God’s influencer’, was performing miracles, supposedly healing a critically ill child and a brain bleed victim in 2012 and 2022.

Carlo Carlo was a devout Christian when he was alive and attended daily mass. Before he died, he set up a website where he researched and documented miracles attributed with the Eucharistwas a devout Christian when he was alive and attended daily mass. Before he died, he set up a website where he researched and documented miracles attributed with the Eucharist

Carlo (pictured) was a devout Christian when he was alive and attended daily mass

Carlo's mother Antonia Salzano (pictured) refers to her late son as her 'savior' as Carlo taught her more and more about his faith and credits him with her conversion into Christianity

Carlo’s mother Antonia Salzano (pictured) refers to her late son as her ‘savior’ as Carlo taught her more and more about his faith and credits him with her conversion into Christianity

Carlo also helped the homeless and stood up for bullied classmates at school. Pictured: Young Carlo with his dog at Christmas

Carlo also helped the homeless and stood up for bullied classmates at school. Pictured: Young Carlo with his dog at Christmas

15-year-old Carlo Acutis, an Italian boy who died in 2006 of leukemia, lies in state in Assisi

15-year-old Carlo Acutis, an Italian boy who died in 2006 of leukemia, lies in state in Assisi

 Carlo was raised by first an Irish nanny then a Polish one. They claim he was inspired in part by St Francis of Assisi, who was born in the same town Carlo was laid to rest. 

Remarking over her late son, Ms Salzano told the Times: ‘Sometimes these beautiful [saints] are all very old and used to live in a very different world so young people don’t feel so close to them. 

What are the five steps to becoming a saint?

Five-year wait: Five years usually needs to have passed after someone’s death for the process to begin. This allows for a period of reflection on the case.

Servant of God: The bishop of the diocese where the person has died investigates whether their life was holy enough to be deemed a ‘servant of God’. 

Life of heroic virtue: The Congregation for the Causes of Saints looks at the case. If they approve it is passed onto the Pope, who declares the subject a person of ‘heroic virtue’. 

Beatification: A miracle needs to happen to a person who has prayed to the person in question. 

Canonisation: A second miracle is attributed to the person who has been beatified.  

‘Carlo was young and handsome and always smiling and was a computer genius and would play on his PlayStation and Game Boy. 

‘To have a saint that played with the same things as you do is something that really touches these young people.’

Ms Salzano said Carlo had a ‘special relationship’ with God from an early age, even though her family was not religious.

She told Shalom Tidings that she had only ever been to mass three times before Carlo began dragging her to church at the age of three and a half. 

Around the same time he began asking questions about his faith and engaging in practices she had never heard of including honoring existing saints, leaving flowers at shrines, and spending hours in church.

She said: ‘Through Carlo I understood that the bread and wine become the real presence of God among us. This was a fantastic discovery for me. He showed us how not to waste time. Each second of his life was glorification of God.’

The youngster even limited himself to one hour of video games each day so that he could devote more time to his religion. ‘Every minute wasted is one less minute to glorify God,’ his mother said. 

Carlo was also an incredibly smart young boy, speaking his first word at three months, starting talking at five months, and writing at age four. 

Ms Salzano recalled that at the age of seven, Carlo wrote: ‘My life plan is to be always close to Jesus.’ At the age of nine he also began teaching himself about computer programming.

Carlo later used his skills to set up a website named, ‘The Eucharistic Miracles of the World’ where he researched and documented miracles attributed with the Eucharist 

The website says it ‘aimed at confirming faith in the real presence of the body and blood of the Lord in the Eucharist’.

Carlo (pictured) died in 2006 and is set to be made into a saint after supposedly healing a critically ill child and a brain bleed victim in 2012 and 2022

Carlo (pictured) died in 2006 and is set to be made into a saint after supposedly healing a critically ill child and a brain bleed victim in 2012 and 2022

Carlo (pictured) was raised by first an Irish nanny then a Polish one. They claim he was inspired in part by St Francis of Assisi, who was born in the same town Carlo was laid to rest

 Carlo (pictured) was raised by first an Irish nanny then a Polish one. They claim he was inspired in part by St Francis of Assisi, who was born in the same town Carlo was laid to rest

Carlo is pictured as a young boy waving to the camera as he seemingly enjoys a holiday in the snow

Carlo is pictured as a young boy waving to the camera as he seemingly enjoys a holiday in the snow

Carlo (pictured as a baby) was also an incredibly smart young boy, speaking his first word at three months, starting talking at five months, and writing at age four

Carlo (pictured as a baby) was also an incredibly smart young boy, speaking his first word at three months, starting talking at five months, and writing at age four

Carlo (pictured) even limited himself to one hour of video games each day so that he could devote more time to his religion

Carlo (pictured) even limited himself to one hour of video games each day so that he could devote more time to his religion

Despite his keen intellect, Carlo never received any grief in school. ‘Naturally, there is lots of jealousy between classmates, but with Carlo none of that happened,’ Ms Salzano told Shalom Tidings.

‘He melted those things like magic; with his smile and purity of heart he conquered everyone. He had the ability to enflame the hearts of people, to turn their cold hearts warm.’ She added that all those around him, strangers, teachers, classmates and even priests themselves recognised how special Carlo was. 

At the end of each day, Carlo would take time to reflect on his life, how he treated his friends, teachers and parents and how he could eliminate any form of sin that he may have committed. 

His mother recalled him saying: ‘Not I, but God. There needs to be less of me so I can leave more room for God.’

After being diagnosed with the deadly blood cancer on October 4, 2006, Carlo told his parents: ‘I’m happy to die because I’ve lived my life without wasting even a minute of it doing things that wouldn’t have pleased God.’

Since his death, Carlo has garnered a global following, and his body was moved to the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, Assisi where it is currently on display. 

In the UK, he has been remembered by the Archbishop of Birmingham, who in 2020 established the Parish of Blessed Carlo Acutis with churches in Wolverhampton and Wombourne. 

And now his devotion to his faith has finally been recognised as Pope Francis has approved Carlo become a saint after performing two miracles since his death.  

In 2012, a Brazilian boy was cured from a rare pancreatic disease after prayers had been made to Carlo to intervene with God. 

The Vatican accepted the incident as a miracle attributed to Carlo and announced in 2020 that the computer lover would be beatified. 

Beatification gives the person the title ‘Blessed’. Other beatified people include Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul II.

Acutis was beatified in Assisi, the home of his idol Saint Francis, who dedicated his life to the care of the poor.

Carlo Acutis, an Italian boy who died in 2006 of leukemia, lies in state ahead of being beatified by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, in Assisi

Carlo Acutis, an Italian boy who died in 2006 of leukemia, lies in state ahead of being beatified by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, in Assisi 

Carlo Acutis, who died of leukaemia in 2006 aged 15 and was informally known as 'God's influencer' and is about to become a saint

Carlo Acutis, who died of leukaemia in 2006 aged 15 and was informally known as ‘God’s influencer’ and is about to become a saint

Promotional pics of Carlo Acutis made to look like a Saint. Here is portrayed with his arm around Jesus

Promotional pics of Carlo Acutis made to look like a Saint. Here is portrayed with his arm around Jesus

Carlo, pictured in a promotional drawing, grew up in Milan where he took care of his parish website and later that of a Vatican-based academy

Carlo, pictured in a promotional drawing, grew up in Milan where he took care of his parish website and later that of a Vatican-based academy

Carlo (pictured) was diagnosed with leukaemia on October 4, 2006 and died October 12

Carlo (pictured) was diagnosed with leukaemia on October 4, 2006 and died October 12

Carlo (pictured) would be only the second Briton to become canonised in nearly 50 years, after Cardinal John Henry Newman was made a Saint last year

Carlo (pictured) would be only the second Briton to become canonised in nearly 50 years, after Cardinal John Henry Newman was made a Saint last year

Carlo (pictured) grew up in Milan where he took care of his parish website and later of a Vatican-based academy

Carlo (pictured) grew up in Milan where he took care of his parish website and later of a Vatican-based academy

A second miracle, which if confirmed, allows a deceased person to become a saint, if approved by the Pope.

Acutis’ second miracle came in 2022, after a 21-year-old Costa Rican girl recovered from a severe brain injury after a bicycle accident in Florence.

The woman, Valeria Valverde, underwent an emergency craniomoty to reduce pressure on her brain. 

Her family were told she was in a critical condition, and her mother went to Assisi to pray at Acutis’ tomb.

That same day, the church claimed, the woman managed to breathe without aide, and then managed to speak again and use her upper limbs.

Scans showed the contusion on her brain had disappeared, and she was discharged from intensive care ten days later.

But his supposed miracles did not stop there, as even his mother claims to have been graced by his spirit since his death. She says she saw Carlo in a dream where he told her she would be a mother again. 

And sure enough, at the age of 44, on the anniversary of his death in 2010, she gave birth to twins, Francesca and Michele.

Carlo is set to be named as a ‘future patron of the internet’ due to his passion in life for spreading the word on God online.  

He would be only the second Briton to become canonised in nearly 50 years, after Cardinal John Henry Newman was made a Saint last year.

He was the first since October 25, 1970, when a large number of British martyrs were canonised at the same time by Pope Paul VI.

While being the first millennial to be canonised, Carlo is not the youngest. Jacinta Marto was just 10 years old when she died in 1920, before later becoming a saint. 

She was canonised along with her 12-year old brother in 2017, after performing a second miracle of healing of a Brazilian child, Lucas Batista, from a head injury following a fall from a window in 2013.

Other notable saints that have been canonised in modern times include Mother Teresa, who supposedly healed two people’s tumours after her death in 1997. 

Joan of Arc also became a saint in 1920 and was canonised by Pope Benedict XV after healing five different people, including three nuns with cancer.

The Brazilian boy Matheus Vianna who was 'saved' by Carlo Acutis

The Brazilian boy Matheus Vianna who was ‘saved’ by Carlo Acutis

Matheus, pictured holding a picture of Carlo, was cured from a rare pancreatic disease after prayers had been made to Carlo to intervene with God

Matheus, pictured holding a picture of Carlo, was cured from a rare pancreatic disease after prayers had been made to Carlo to intervene with God

Jacinta Marto, pictured right next to her brother, was just 10 years old when she died in 1920, before later becoming a saint

Jacinta Marto, pictured right next to her brother, was just 10 years old when she died in 1920, before later becoming a saint

Other notable saints that have been canonised in modern times include Mother Teresa (pictured), who supposedly healed two people's tumours after her death in 1997

Other notable saints that have been canonised in modern times include Mother Teresa (pictured), who supposedly healed two people’s tumours after her death in 1997

Joan of Arc (pictured) also became a saint in 1920 and was canonised by Pope Benedict XV after healing five different people, including three nuns with cancer

Joan of Arc (pictured) also became a saint in 1920 and was canonised by Pope Benedict XV after healing five different people, including three nuns with cancer

In the early Church, a number of children were martyred for their faith and later declared to be saints.

They include St Pancras, a Roman who was beheaded at the age of 14 in 304AD after he converted to Christianity, and St Ponticus of Lyons, France, who was just 15 when he was thrown to wild beasts in 177AD.

Antonietta Meo was just six-and-a-half years old when she lost her battle against bone cancer in 1937. 

Pope Benedict XVI announced in 2007 that she would be canonised, making her the youngest non-martyr saint in the 2,000-year history of the Roman Catholic Church.

Before her, youngest saint of modern times had been St Maria Goretti who died at the age of 12 years old when she was stabbed 14 times during a frenzied attack by Alessandro Serenelli in 1902.

After his arrest Serenelli admitted that he had been trying to rape the girl but she had told him that she would rather die than submit to him.

St Maria was canonised ‘virgin and martyr’ in 1950 by Pope Pius XII in a ceremony attended by Serenelli, who by that time had spent 30 years in prison for the attempted rape and murder.

The youngest non-martyr saint is another Italian, Domenico Savio, a 14-year-old student for the priesthood who died of pleurisy in 1857. He was canonised in 1954, also by Pope Pius XII.



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