'As for me, I am quite useless'
In the remaining year of his life he continued to govern his Institutes and to write books. Suddenly his health deteriorated, giving his brethren and friends cause for concern. Though the long months of sickness consumed him physically, they did not dim his spirit.
Disciples, friends, devotees and admirers, hastened to his bedside, showing their gratitude, affection and esteem. They prayed with the ardent hope of obtaining his recovery. They asked him for a word, a memento, a blessing. Manzoni also arrived at the bedside of his great friend, though his health was in a precarious state. His heart was breaking and he could not withhold his tears. These are the words he sent to his son-in-law: “The resignation, or rather the full and natural consent of his will to God’s, the serenity that is its consequence, are felt in every word he utters, and in that smile that has not changed in a face that was so changed, as when he wrote and spoke.”
He could not make out how such an intelligence should pass away. He found the courage to say to the sick man: “I hope that the Lord will spare you for our sakes, and give you time to complete the many noble works that you have begun; your presence among us is so necessary.”
And don Antonio said in a faint voice: “No! No! God needs no one; the works begun by God will be completed by the means that he holds in his hand, there is no limit to them, they are an abyss into which we can peer and adore. As for me, I am quite useless; I fear that I even do harm; and this fear not only makes me resigned to death, but also makes me desire it.”
Manzoni replied: “For heaven’s sake, don’t say that: what should we do?” “Adorare, tacere, godere” [Adore, be silent, rejoice]: was the response and legacy confided to his most dear friend.
The dying man passed away in the early hours of the 1st July 1855, the day dedicated to the Most Precious Blood, to which he was very devoted. His remains lie in the crypt under the Church of the Crucified, over Stresa. On his tomb Vincenzo Vela erected a monument, the statue of Rosmini kneeling, his expression a true masterwork of psychological insight.