Saint Paul of the Cross
OUR PATRON SAINT
PAUL DANEO was born in Ovada, Italy, in 1694. He was the first of sixteen children born to Luke and Anna Maria Daneo. His father owned a small business but his family struggled financially due to a poor economy.
As a child, Paul desired prayer and recollection. His father would read to his children from the lives of the saints, and his mother often consoled Paul and his siblings by pointing to a Crucifix and explaining how much Jesus suffered for them.
Guided in this fashion, and spurred on by a particular sermon he had heard, Paul made a radical conversion in his life. At twenty-one years of age he expressed a desire to die a martyr's death and joined the Crusade army. Paul did not find the army to be his calling and left to continue the search for a meaning to his life.
In 1718, at Sestri outside of Genoa, at Our Lady of Gazzo Church, Paul saw himself in a vision. He was clothed in a black tunic and filled with a desire to lead a life of poverty and reparation. He wanted to call others to join him. Two years later at a local Capuchin Monastery Paul prayed fervently for an understanding of what had happened at Our Lady of Gazzo Church. On his way home he received a vision of the blessed Virgin Mary clothed in a black tunic and wearing the Passionist sign. She told him to gather companions, and to establish an Order that would mourn the death of her Son, Jesus Christ. On November 22 of that same year Bishop DiGattinara of Alessandria vested Paul in what was to become know as the Passionist Habit.
During a forty day retreat after this event Paul completed the Rule of Life for his future congregation, and was joined by his brother, John Baptist. His task of forming a community of men dedicated to remembrance of the Passion of Jesus met with failure at first. It was not until 1737, when he was forty three that the first Passionist Monastery was opened at Monte Argentario. Eight years later the Pope approved the Congregation.
THE CONGREGATIONALISTS OF PASSIONISTS grew and expanded. Its principle ministry was preaching the Passion of Christ. By teaching the people to meditate on the Passion Paul brought the People of God to repentance for their past sins and to perseverance in their conversion to God's way of living.
Paul was convinced that the Passion would enlighten and strengthen their hearts. He wanted as many people as possible to share what he had found in Christ, and so established the Confraternity of the Passion. In his later years he founded a contemplative Order of nuns, the Passionist Nuns. (visit The Passionists Nuns of Pittsburgh)
For forty years Paul suffered extreme spiritual darkness. However, he never failed to enlighten people's hearts about the love of Christ for them, and to give them hope that God indeed journeyed with them. On October 18th , 1775, he died. His feast day is celebrated on October 19th (Oct. 20th in the United States).
For more information about St. Paul of the Cross, visit:
Saint Paul of the Cross - Founder of the Passionist Congregation
Mysticism of the Passion in St Paul of the Cross - Free Online Book
Flowers of the Passion -Thoughts of Saint Paul of the Cross - Free Online Book