Bishop Guglielmo Giaquinta was born in Noto, Italy on June 28, 1914. He was ordained a priest on March 18, 1938. He founded the Pro Sanctity Movement in 1947, and later founded the Institute of Apostolic Oblates (for lay women), the Institute of Apostolic Sodales (for diocesan priests), and the Ecclesial Organization of Social Animators (for lay men). He served as a priest of the Diocese of Rome, where he was Secretary of the Vicariate of Rome from 1948 to 1968. On November 1, 1968, he was consecrated a bishop by Pope Paul VI and charged with the pastoral care of the Diocese of Tivoli, just outside Rome. Bishop Giaquinta was very involved in the work of the Italian Episcopal Conference until 1984. Due to poor health, he retired in 1987. He died in Rome on June 15, 1994.
In the early years of his priesthood, Bishop Giaquinta began to teach that all people are called to become saints – this is the Universal Call to Holiness. This teaching grew and developed over time, and his passionate desire to draw all people to the love of God prompted many men and women to follow him in the apostolate of interior life and holiness. Bishop Giaquinta is the loving father of two secular institutes: the Institute of Apostolic Oblates and the Institute of Apostolic Sodales. He also founded three ecclesial groups: the Priestly Movement, based on the spirituality of the Cenacle; the Social Animators (for laymen); and the Pro Sanctity Movement (open to all people), which has centers in Italy, Belgium, Malta, India and the United States.
Bishop Giaquinta’s teaching of the Universal Call to Holiness was confirmed by the Magisterium of the Church when the Second Vatican Council documented this teaching in the fifth chapter of Lumen Gentium. Bishop Giaquinta authored numerous books and articles on spirituality, as well as many poems, songs and prayers. He was an untiring preacher and teacher, conducting many retreats and spiritual exercises for both the clergy and the laity. His words touched the hearts and minds of many. In his tremendous devotion to Our Lady of Trust, Bishop Giaquinta believed that it would be through her intercession that the world would learn of and respond to God’s call to holiness. Bishop Giaquinta died June 15, 1994 and was proclaimed Servant of God by the Church on March 17, 2004.