An Italian teenager is one miracle away from becoming the first millennial saint

insider@insider.com (James Pasley)
Pope Francis.
Pope Francis.

Reuters

  • Carlo Acutis, who died in 2006 when he was 15, will be beatified in October, after Pope Francis attributed a miracle to him in February.

  • If a second miracle is attributed to him, he would be the first millennial saint.

  • Acutis was a devout young Catholic who taught himself how to program, and used the internet as a tool to spread the message of the Catholic church.

  • He is said to have saved a young Brazilian boy from a terrible illness through prayer.

  • His mother Antonia Acutis told the National Catholic Register: "Carlo understood that the internet can be used as an atomic bomb for good, but it can also be used for bad, to diminish the human person."

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A young Italian computer whiz who died when he was 15 is one miracle away from become the first millennial saint.

Carlo Acutis, who used the internet to spread the Roman Catholic message, and is said to have saved a young Brazilian boy from a terrible illness through prayer, will be beatified in October, after the ceremony was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to NBC News.

Beatification is the final step before a person becomes a saint — the church recognizes a person has made it to heaven and has the ability to help those who pray in their name.

Acutis, who was born in London in 1991 and lived in Milan, taught himself how to program before building a website that documented miracles globally, compiling 196 miracles altogether.

He helped his classmates who were bullied, gave his pocket money to people living in poverty, and built websites for priests. In 2006, he died of leukemia when he was 15.

Last year, Pope Francis said Acutis' use of the internet, communicating "values and beauty," was a perfect response to the pitfalls of social media, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In February, Francis attributed a miracle to him based on an unexplainable healing in 2013, when a boy from Brazil recovered from a severe problem with his pancreas, after a priest prayed to Acutis on his behalf for three days.

President of Catholic Faith Technologies Jay Breeden told NBC that Carlo's canonization might be a sign that Francis, who often uses his Twitter account with 4.9 million followers, is pushing for the Catholic Church to embrace technology.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who leads the Vatican's department that chooses saints, told the Los Angeles Times Acutis was the right candidate to protect people using the internet.

"That's my hope — he would be an ideal example for all young people," he said.

His mother Antonia Acutis told the National Catholic Register: "Carlo understood that the internet can be used as an atomic bomb for good, but it can also be used for bad, to diminish the human person."

Acutis also coined a phrase about not letting people lose their individuality on the internet: "Everyone is born an original, but many die like photocopies."

If a second miracle is approved then Acutis will become a saint. For the moment, his body, which is in a tomb in Assisi, is being livestreamed at all times.

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