father Pancrazio M. Gaudioso
The Founder of the Fraternity, Padre Pancrazio Gaudioso, after entering the order of the Capuchin Friars, in Apulia, was moved to Loreto, in 1946 where he had intimations of the Lord’s call to something new.
Of utmost importance were, in that period, his encounters with St. Pio of Petralcina.
In 1973 P. Pancrazio was ordained priest and moved to Civitanova Marche.
From 1975 he started to found prayer groups. Within the group in Civitanova Marche originated the need and desire of a permanent form of brotherly, communal life: this was the sign, for P. Pancrazio, that the call that he had been feeling in his heart really was the project that God was asking him to realize. This project of a community, born in the silence of the Holy House in Loreto, was realized on the solemnity of the 1982 Pentecost in Terlizzi, in the province of Bari. Through a progress confirmed by several ecclesiastical approvals, and marked by momentous events, in 1998 the initial adventure turned into an Institute of Consecrated Life.
P. Pancrazio was born in Bari as Nicola Gaudioso, the last of six children, on 15th November 1926.
After the untimely death of his father, Domenico, his family was supported uniquely by the work, as a dressmaker, of his mother Giovanna, who was an exemplary educator and model of self-denial and prayer, not only for her children, but for the women of their surroundings.
The family life was marked by an exceptional design: Anna, the eldest daughter, died after living birth to a girl who would become a Clarisse nun as Sister Teresina in the monastery of Palestrina; the other daughter, Angela, would become Sister Candida in the same monastery where, once her children were all grown up, also the mother would be consecrated with the name of Suor Elisabetta.
Of the four sons, Leonardo is the only one who got married; Giuseppe became a Capuchin friar as Fr. Giocondo, missionary in Mozambique; Vito, after leaving the Marine Army, followed in the steps of his missionary brother as Fr. Giuseppe.
But the first to open the path of a consecrated life was Nicola. However the youngest, he was the first of the brothers to enter the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin in Apulia. At the age of 13, on 10th December 1939, the day of Our Lady of Loreto; he was vested as lay brother on 13th May 1942 with the name of Fr. Pancrazio and professed his temporary vows on 19 June 1943 at Alessano, in the province of Lecce. On 23rd November1947 he took his perpetual vows in the Holy House of Loreto, where he had started, a year before, his service in the Sanctuary.
In 1967 he was transferred to the Capuchins’ convent in Bari and in 1969 to Recanati.
In those years he attended the theology course at the Capuchin school of Loreto, in order to become a priest.
On 18th March 1973 he was ordained presbyter in the Sanctuary of Loreto. After some months from the holy orders he was transferred to the Capuchin convent at Civitanova Marche where he remained until 1982, the year of the foundation of the fraternity that was initially named “Casa Betania “ (Bethany House).
Since 1999 P. Pancrazio has been the general superior of the Franciscan Fraternity of Bethany.