Saint Joseph Freinademetz:
an important religious figure in Alta Badia
Saint Joseph Freinademetz (or San Giuseppe Freinademetz) was born in Oies on 15 April 1852 to Giovanni Mattia Freinademetz and Anna Maria Algrang. He was the fourth of thirteen children and even as a young child he lived a life dedicated to the Faith and to Christian tradition.
The name Freinademetz means "in the middle of a landslide", or even "place of the mountain slope" and in the course of time differing variants of this name were used due to errors in transcription.
Saint Joseph Freinademetz was a priest and missionary who moved to China in 1879. His first two years of service were conducted at the diocese of Hong Kong. He then moved to South Shantung where the Verbite Missionaries were situated. His duties regarded the formation of the Chinese catechists and priests.
He was an itinerant missionary. Whenever the opportunity presented itself, he introduced religious discourse while talking to crowds and passers-by. He always carried the vestments for Holy Mass with him including the linens and robes necessary for the celebration. Notwithstanding his numerous duties, he never forgot to inform the Bishop of his missionary work. He wrote entire reports, written with great detail, regarding prayers, reflections, and behavioural rules for the seminarians, etc. Father Freinademetz was always ready to give everything. It wasn't by chance that he often used the saying of Saint Paul "I will most gladly spend everything I have and be spent myself too for your sakes".
After a most modest life, carrying on with his religious vocation and Christian knowledge, Father Joseph Freinademetz died of typhus on 28 January 1908. From that day forward began true veneration to this religious figure, not only in China, but also in Austria and his home country. In 1975, during World Mission Day, Father Joseph Freinademetz was beatified and on 5 October 2003 he was canonized a Saint by Pope John Paul II.
The birth home of Saint Joseph Freinademetz is a location truly loved by many. Every year numerous pilgrims visit the town of Oies to venerate him and reflect on his example of Christian life.