Despite opposition and trials, he used his medical profession as a holy apostolate for the conversion of his patients while his charity was being lavished on retarded children.
On January 9, 1930, Ludovico (Vico) Necchi, professor of biology at the University of Milan, died. According to his will, his headstone was to be inscribed with the simple words: Vico Necchi, Franciscan Tertiary. An extraordinary man, he is buried in the chapel of the University of the Sacred Heart in Milan in the expectation that one day he will be raised to the altars.
As a young man Vico was deeply in love with Christ, St. Francis and the Church. Invested in the habit of the Third Order, he displayed the enthusiasm of Paul and the gentleness of Francis. He used his position as a physician to counter the secular, anti-Christian attitudes of his age and to bring others to Christ. One of his converts was the radical, Augustine Gemelli, who with Vico was the cofounder of the University of the Sacred Heart.
Vico himself was a prayerful, humble, charming and cheerful man who stood at the forefront of the new Italian Catholic Action. Despite opposition and trials, he used his medical profession as a holy apostolate for the conversion of his patients while his charity was being lavished on retarded children.
One of the documents produced by the Second Vatican Council explored the apostolate of the laity. Vico was born long before that council sat, but he took seriously his role as apostle. We too are called by Christ to be his apostles: to spread his reign of forgiveness and peace, to bring his healing touch wherever we go—at home, at work, to the marketplace or wherever else our daily journey takes us.
“To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher and of each believer. This witness of life, however, is not the sole element in the apostolate; the true apostle is on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers...or to the faithful” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 239).