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Founder of the Passionists (1694-1775)

His life



+ Paul Francis Danei was born near Genoa to a family of merchants. A pious child, he experienced a series of visions in 1720 in which he was instructed to establish a new religious congregation.


+ After spending 40 days in solitary prayer, he composed a rule of life for what would eventually become the Congregation of the Passion (the Passionists).


+ Ordained a priest in 1727, Paul established the community’s first house in 1737.


+ After the community was given papal approval in 1769, Paul added a fourth vow to promote the Passion of Christ. Passionist priests were soon sought out as retreat leaders and missionaries throughout Italy and beyond.


+ A man of prayer, Paul spent long hours in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and practiced extreme penances. He wanted the members of his community to combine contemplation and action and his own devotion to the Passion compelled him to share the Truth of God’s love with others.


+ Shortly before his death on October 19, 1775, he established a congregation of enclosed nuns.


+ Saint Paul of the Cross was canonized in 1867.



For prayer and reflection


“It is very good and holy to consider the passion of our Lord and to meditate on it, for by this sacred path we reach union with God. In this most holy school we learn true wisdom, for it was there that all the saints learned it.”—Saint Paul of the Cross.




May the Priest Saint Paul,

whose only love was the Cross,

obtain for us your grace, O Lord,

so that, urged on more strongly by his example,

we may each embrace our own cross with courage.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.