An Introduction to the Life of Saint Paul of the Cross

The statue of the Saint in Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome.

St. Paul of the Cross was born at Ovada in Liguria, Italy, the son of devout parents. His childhood was distinguished by an incident in which he and his brother, John Baptist, fell into a river and were rescued by a beautiful lady whom they understood to be the Blessed Virgin. Devout from childhood, he progressively grew deeper in the spiritual life until, at the age of fifteen, he decided to devote his life to prayer and penance.

At the age of twenty he felt that duty required him to join the Venetian army to fight against the Turks in the defense of Christendom. This experience only proved to him that his vocation was elsewhere. After his discharge, he returned to his life of prayer.

After a series of visions in which he was directed to found a congregation that was to be especially devoted to the Passion, Paul composed a rule that was approved by Rome. Known as the Passionist Order, Paul and his brother, John Baptist who had joined him, both settled on Monte Argentaro and there received the first novices. The austere life of the community of the Passionists also included the mission of preaching throughout the countryside, and it was this work that occupied most of the Saint’s life.

St. Paul of the Cross was an extraordinary preacher who possessed many of the mystical gifts including prophecy, bi-location, supernatural perfumes, visions, power over nature and levitation. Recognized as a Saint during his lifetime, he was usually met by throngs of people who were anxious to obtain a piece of his habit as a relic, to touch him or to request a cure or a favor. God was with him everywhere he went, and his preaching missions were attended not only by almost all the local townspeople, but also those of the surrounding towns, so that huge crowds were present at all his missions. And God showed His approval of his servant by granting numerous miracles through his intercession at all his missions as if to say: “This is my beloved servant- listen to him!”.

You can pray the second day of the Novena here.


Text above taken from www(dot)saintpaulofthecross(dot)com

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