Blessed Carcano

Beato Carcano
Born in Milan in 1427, Michele Carcano joined the Franciscan Order in the convent of Santa Croce in Boscaglia, Como, probably influenced by the sermons of San Bernardino da Siena (St. Bernardino of Siena). Few documents have survived since St. Carcano preached in vernacular Italian; hence, it is rather hard to define his characteristics. We can, however, say that he was a typical representative of the second generation of popular preachers of the Franciscan Order, who completed moral preaching with exquisitely social actions. His name is also associated with the construction of the first Monte di Pietà (pawnshop) in Perugia in 1462. He was invited to the city by Bishop Ermolao Barbaro, recently appointed governor of the city in Umbria, who probably planned on having him preach against the Jewish usurers. Like other famous missionaries of the time, he repeatedly preached also in favour of the crusades. Though he was banished from the Duchy of Milan by Galeazzo Maria Sforza in 1471, in 1473 he was elected guardian of the convent of Sant’Angelo in Milan, and was appointed Provincial Vicar of the Franciscan Order in 1475. Beato Carcano died in Lodi in 1484 after suddenly feeling ill at the pulpit. Beato Carcano’s statue at the top of spire G8 stylistically stands apart from the other statues that crown the Duomo. The profile is not particularly harmonious but is, instead, rather stiff. In fact, it is one of the recent works produced for the Duomo. Based on the original scale model by Lanfranco Frigeri, the statue was later made by Mario Bassetti in ca. 1951. Beato Carcano is portrayed hooded and entirely wrapped in a large cloak featuring stiff folds. His thin sharp face appears from under the hood, looking to the right, to the East where the sun rises.