Premiere of “Tracing a Journey: Celebrating the Life of Father Samuel Mazzuchelli” Is a Success

Imagine leaving a life of wealth and a homeland of friends and family at age 22 to become a Catholic priest on the rugged Midwestern frontier in 1828. The remarkable Italian-American Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, OP, did just that while building churches and civic buildings and ministering among the people in areas that would become the states of Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan while also founding the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa before his death in 1864.

The Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa will publicly release the video “Tracing a Journey: Celebrating the Life of Father Samuel Mazzuchelli” as an interactive premiere on YouTube Wed., Feb. 23 at 6:30 p.m. (Central) at which will feature a live chat and question-and-answer session that will begin at 6 p.m. His steps are traced by boat, horseback, and foot to explore his trials and triumphs as a missionary priest. Upon his death, a penance chain was discovered around his waist. Many have prayed with the chain, asking for special graces through Father Mazzuchelli’s intercession. His legacy continues today as Sisters and friends pray for his sainthood. He was declared Venerable in 1993 by Pope John Paul II, acknowledging he exemplified heroic virtues during his lifetime.

The 40-minute documentary was produced in 2005 by Craig Schaefer, an award-winning professor of media studies at Loras College and director of Loras College Productions, Dubuque. More than 700 copies were sold by 2013, and the film hasn’t been available for purchase since that time. The Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa are releasing the video in 2022 in observance of the Congregation’s 175th anniversary on the date of Father Mazzuchelli’s death as a gift to make his deeds more widely known to the world. The Sisters and people of the parishes he founded continue to revere his memory as they carry on his mission today—he wrote, “Let us set out for any place where the work is great and difficult, but where also with the help of the One who sends us, we shall open the way for the Gospel.”