Teodorico Pietrocola-Rossetti

See Pietrocola- Rossetti


1825-1883. Italian poet and patriot. Born at Vasto (Abruzzi), he studied law at Naples University and joined Mazzini's organization, La Giovane Italia. Involved in the 1848 uprising, he had to flee and took refuge first at Leghorn, then Lyons, Paris, and London where he was warmly received by the many exiles in the Mazzinian circle and by his cousin and poet Gabriel Rossetti, whose surname he joined to his. He earned his living by giving Italian lessons and was invited by one of his pupils to attend an Open Brethren meeting, which led to a conversion experience. He did not entirely abandon political activity; he wrote articles in journals, and two very important treatises, La religione di Stato and Il problema religioso, but Christ became the center of his life. He renounced political success and devoted his life to the preaching of the Gospel, which he considered the only remedy for the sad plight of Italy.

In 1857, after a most solemn commendation meeting, Rossetti left London for Alessandria (Piedmont) to begin, amid all kinds of difficulties and persecution, a successful work of evangelism. This included the teaching and preparing of young converts who gave evidence of real vocation to become evangelists in the newly formed congregations. These were called Free Italian churches, and in spite of a sad division in 1863 (see Gavazzi and Risorgimento), by 1870 they had grown to more than thirty communities, some large, scattered throughout Italy. Rossetti spent the last years of his life in Florence; his death occurred on a Sunday at the morning meeting after giving a message which, in the words of the hearers, “had led the congregation up to heaven.” Generous, warmhearted, impulsive, but also deeply spiritual and highly intelligent, he was also a great lover of children. He wrote many valuable commentaries and hymns still sung today, and which are the best in Italian both for content and poetry.