Cardinal Celso Costantini was born in Italy in 1876 and died on the 17th of October in 1958. He was appointed by our late Pope Pius XI as the first delegate of the Holy See in China in 1922.
He was ordained a priest in 1899 and later was consecrated as a Bishop in Fiume, Italy.
He contributed much to China during his eleven years of service there. The following are his major contributions:
- He called for the first national bishops' conference in Shanghai in 1924.
- He made constitutions for the mission in China.
- He helped the promotion of six Chinese priests as bishops.
- He instituted several regional major seminaries.
- He helped the foundation of the Fu-Jen Catholic University and its development.
- He instituted a Chinese college in Rome.
- He insisted minor seminaries should adopt the educational system of high schools.
- Finally he founded the Congregation of the Disciples of the Lord in China.
After he had come back to Italy, he was assigned by Pope as the Secretary of the Congregation of Propagation of the Faith on 17th December 1935, and was promoted a Cardinal in 1953.
He was simple in mind and honest in heart and full of great love for China. He was an artist and treasured Chinese painting greatly. Truly, he was a great man in the history of the Chinese mission.