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Monday, July 23, 2018
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Daily Saint

October 20: St. Paul of the Cross

Paul Danei of Ovada, Italy, was born into a family of merchants in 1694. He was a good Christian and practiced his faith. When he was nineteen, Paul decided to become a soldier. After a year he left the army. During the summer of 1720 Paul had some kind of a spiritual experience. He had three visions of starting a new religious order. He couldn't imagine what was happening, so he went to his bishop for guidance. The bishop investigated and believed that the visions were real. He told Paul to go ahead with his special call. He should do what he was being told in the visions to do.

Paul spent forty days in prayer and penance. During that time he wrote a rule that he and the followers of his new congregation could base their style of life on. Paul was joined by his brother John and two other young men. Paul and John were ordained priests by Pope Benedict XIII in 1727.

Ten years later, the first Passionist monastery was started. Pope Clement XIV approved the new order. He also approved the rule a short time later. Besides the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, Paul of the Cross added a fourth vow: devotion to the passion of Christ. By 1747, the Passionists had three monasteries. They were preaching parish retreats throughout Italy.

When he died in 1775, Paul of the Cross was starting a congregation of Passionist nuns. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius IX in 1867.

Reflection: St. Paul taught that in the Cross of Jesus we find real wisdom. When we find ourselves in difficulty or suffering, let us pray for this wisdom.