Paul was born in Genoa, January 3, 1694. His youth was spent in great innocence and piety. One day in a vision, he was asked to start a congregation in honor of the Passion of Jesus Christ. He was given by the bishop the habit that had been shown to him the vision, the same that the Passionists wear at the present time. He chose as the badge of his Order a heart with three nails, in memory the sufferings of Jesus.
Paul began as a layman to preach the Passion of Christ. He had lots of trouble. All his first companions, except his brother, deserted him. Finally, in 1741, the Rule he wrote was approved by Benedict XIV. The first house of the Passionists was opened at Orbitello. Later, Paul established a larger community at the Church of Sts. John and Paul in Rome.
For fifty years Paul remained the untiring missionary of Italy. God granted him marvelous gifts but he treated himself with the greatest severity, believing himself to be a useless servant and a great sinner. He died at Rome in 1775, at the age of 81, while the Passion was being read to him.
Lord, may the prayers of St. Paul who loved the Cross with a singular love gain Your grace for us. May we be inspired by his example and embrace our own cross with courage.
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