Italy’s ‘most handsome man’ leaves modeling career to become a priest

Edoardo Santini. / Credit: Instagram/Edoardo Santini

ACI Prensa Staff, Dec 7, 2023 / 18:10 pm (CNA).

Young Edoardo Santini, considered “the most handsome man in Italy,” has decided to leave his promising career as a model and enter a seminary to become a priest.

Dancer, swimmer, actor — these were a few of the dreams of Santini, a 21-year-old Italian who in 2019 when he was 17 earned the title of the most handsome young man in his country after winning a national contest.

This award opened the doors to the world of fashion, and his future seemed clear: He was destined to become a big star. However, God’s plans were different. Santini was going to continue shining, but away from the spotlight and catwalks.

A courageous first step

In a video posted on social media Nov. 23, Santini explained that he is on his way “to become, God willing, a priest.”

He says that during these years he has met people who, “by showing me what it means to ‘be Church,’ have given me the strength to investigate this question that I had been carrying around since I was little” but which, he says, “I didn’t delve into because of fear.”

In January 2020 he discovered “the real Church,” and that was when on social media he began to talk about God and the call he felt.

“Living in God doesn’t mean locking yourself inside the church but rather living one’s life more fully,” he told his more than 11,000 followers on Instagram.

He also mentioned the opposition of his grandmother, who “expected something else” from her grandson. However, he stressed that he didn’t feel “alone” in his decision and that he was “tired of satisfying the will of others and posting photos where I am apparently secure and happy.”

The young man from the Tuscany region took “a first step” and last year he went to live with two priests, which he described as “the most beautiful experience of my life.”

Sharing his daily life with the priests allowed him to “find in everyday life the answer that I hoped for, which has come to me from above.”

“At the end of the year, it was natural for me to ask the bishop to enter the preparatory course, the year preceding life in the seminary. And here I am, studying theology and serving in two parishes of the Diocese of Florence,” he said in his video.

He also shared that he was slow in taking the first step “for fear of not being accepted” and that making this decision was something “that terrified him” although, he said honestly, “I built more walls for myself than there were.”

Experience at World Youth Day in Lisbon

Santini also shared on Instagram his experience during World Youth Day in August in Lisbon, Portugal.

Through different videos, he showed how this gathering of young people marked a before and after in his life.

Between “laughter, dancing, jumping up and down,” and new friendships, Santini discovered that “the Church is beautiful.” Now, at the age of 21 and after having dared to say “yes” to the call of the Lord, he said he feels really “happy.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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