St. Paul of the Cross

Feast Days: October 20
Time Period: 1694 - 1775
Place: Italy
Patronage: Ovada, Italy

Born during the Enlightenment, when cultural figures, such as Voltaire, promoted human rights, scientific developments and human reason while taking God out of the public square and denying Christian revelation, Paul Danei was the second child born in poverty to a devote mother. Through the many tragedies the family faced, Paul’s mother instilled in him a devotion to the Passion of Christ. Paul declined the opportunity to marry and instead took care of his struggling family after the death of his father. In 1720 he had a life-changing experience of God that determined his life’s mission: “He saw himself clothed in a black garment with a white cross on his breast on which was written the name of Jesus.” After many discouragements while trying to follow this mission and start a new order, Paul and his brother moved to a hermitage where they prayed, studied scripture and on Sundays attended mass in the village and taught catechism to children. People responded to their words and soon adults were coming to learn as well. Eventually they were asked by Priest and Bishops to speak in other towns and welcomed to Rome to speak. The brothers were ordained 1727 by Pope Benedict XIII. With their work supported by the Vatican the brothers founded the congregation of “Passionists” . Paul of the Cross lived life in love shown to mankind through the Passion of Christ Crucified, joyfully embracing his own pains and tribulations. He is considered the greatest mystic of the 18th century.

Be thankful for your precious trials, both interior and exterior; it is this that the garden of Jesus is adorned with flowers, that is, with acts of virtue