St. Paul of The Cross
Paul Francis Daneii was born January 3, 1694 in Genoa, Italy and raised by devout Catholic parents. Paul was devoted to Jesus from his early years and was an excellent student. At fifteen he left school and devoted himself to prayer at home; for a time he had numerous trials. He spent a year in the army fighting the Turks at age seventeen. While still a layman he had vision of the religious congregation he was to found and with the bishop’s permission drew up the rule for the Passionists. His brother John Baptist joined him in this endeavor and in 1725, the brothers visited Rome, where Pope Benedict XIII permitted the new congregation. This same pope ordained the brothers in 1727 and with his permission they founded the first house of the order at Mount Argentaro. Father Paul and his fellow Passionists preached missions and spoke fervently about the Passion of Jesus. Many people were converted by them. Against his objections, in April, 1747 Paul was elected the first Superior General of the Passionists. The order spread rapidly and its founder dedicated himself to its success, all the while praying and doing penance for the conversion of sinners. He especially prayed for the return of England to the Catholic Faith. Paul of the Cross was ill for the last three years of his life and he united himself to the Crucified Christ who was the joy and strength of his life. He died on October 18, 1775 and was canonized in 1867.