While still a teenager, both of Felice’s parents died, and he was from that point to be looked after by his elder brother. A bricklayer, and man of extremely violent temper, his brother employed him, but provided him no warmth or family connection. Rather, he delivered harsh words and blows, and significant abuse, regardless of how hard Felice worked to please him. The future saint, however, for his part, accepted all the trials given to him with great penance, recognizing his suffering as the path to holiness.
At the young age of 16, Felice entered the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin convent as a lay brother at Ascoli Piceno, desiring to consecrate himself fully to the Lord. Upon acceptance, he is reported to have said: "I have nothing -- just a crucifix and a rosary--but with these I hope to benefit the friars and become a saint." He took the name Serafino, giving up his former identity and life.
At first, Serafino was mocked by his brothers due to his illiteracy. He turned to prayer as comfort, later recalling, "When I entered religious life I was a poor, unskilled laborer, lacking both talent and potential. I remained as I was, and this caused so many humiliations and rebukes, which the devil used as opportunities to tempt me to leave religious life and retreat to some desert, withdrawing into myself.
I entrusted myself to the Lord, and one night I heard a voice coming from the tabernacle say, ‘To serve God you must die to yourself and accept adversity, of whatever type.’ So I accepted them and resolved to recite a rosary for anyone who caused me trouble.
Then I heard the voice from the tabernacle say, 'Your prayers for those who mortify you are very pleasing to me. In exchange, I am ready to grant you many graces.’”
Eventually, despite his lack of education and young age, the brothers at the convent recognized his piety and holiness, as well as his unaffected simplicity, and soon he was respected and admired by his community.
He encouraged them in the ways of humility, obedience, limitless charity to those in need, mortification, and self-sacrifice, and worked tirelessly at the most menial chores in service to his brothers. He was graced with considerable spiritual gifts and wisdom, as well as devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady.
Saint Serafino ate very little, frequently taking only one fourth of his meager rations, and distributing the rest to the poor. As porter for the community, he was responsible for feeding those in need, and he would frequently empty the larders and vegetable garden, distributing all the community had to the poor.
On one such occasion, his superior reprimanded him for endangering the welfare of his brothers, giving away all their food. Ever obedient, Serafino assured the superior that it would not happen again, and that the community would in no way suffer. Sure enough, the following morning, the vegetable garden was again full of new vegetables, having miraculously grown overnight!
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Savior Crucified.
"With the passage of time, holiness does not lose its force of attraction; more than that, it shines with greater luminosity. This is evident in the person of Brother Serafino, a simple and illiterate man whom all, both the humble and powerful, regarded as a real 'brother.' Precisely because of this," the "humble son of St. Francis" is "an eloquent witness of that universal vocation to holiness.”