“Bollettino giornaliero sulla malattia ultima del P. Secchi”

["Daily bulletin on the final illness of Fr. Secchi"]
"Firma dei personaggi che venivano a prenderne notizia"
["Signatures of visitors"]
Fondo Secchi, 23.VII
Archives of Pontificia Università Gregoriana, Rome

Thanks to his indefatigable activity in teaching and science divulgation (the courses of physics in the female colleges, the conferences given to the workers ‘ societies, the numerous relations to the academies, and the applauded public lectures), Secchi was a well-known personality, who had a vast halo of popularity.
The news regarding his serious illness quickly spreaded, arousing several attestations of affinity, affection and pray from several parts.
The symptoms of the stomach cancer that, in a short time, prevailed over his strength, manifested in the late summer of 1877. Several distinguished doctors were consulted, but the fatal diagnosis was concordant.
Secchi spent a short time spent in Villa San Girolamo, in Fiesole, to find relief from the diseas, following the advice of his superiors. Feeling the end closer, he decided to come back to Rome.
The visits and requests for news were incessant and, as usual in these cases, the confreres decided to release a daily bulletin of his medical conditions, in which all the numerous visitors who came to ask for news were written down, or they could eventually put their signature.
This small notebook is still preserved among the cards of Secchi located in the archive of the P. Gregorian University. The page reproduced here is relative to the update of January 28, followed by various signatures. It is possible to read the names of members of the nobility of Rome, such as Prince Torlonia, Prince Boncompagni and the Prince of Lampedusa, political personalities and scientists, such as Costantino Pittei and Carlo Matteucci (Figure 1a-b), but also of many common people, to witness the popularity of Secchi.
According to his confreres, Secchi faced the harsh illness with great fortitude, preserving his vein of humor until the end, preparing himself as a good religious with the comfort of the sacraments.
The bulletin stops on February 25; the next day, Secchi was dead, without even having turned sixty years.

Ileana Chinnici, INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo