22 Jan Saint Vincent Mary Pallotti, Confessor
Today is the feast day of Saint Vincent Mary Pallotti. Ora pro nobis.
Saint Vincent Mary Pallotti was born in Rome in 1795. He was descended from the noble families of the Pallotti of Norcia and the De Rossi of Rome.
From earliest childhood he evinced tender love for the Blessed Mother of God, and the decree on the heroic nature of his virtues emphasizes the following facts: “He possessed an exceptional love for poverty and penance, and was therefore especially devoted to St Francis of Assisi. Because various obstacles were in the way of his entering the First Order, he desired at least to belong to the Third Order. It was his constant endeavor to imitate and venerate St Francis.”
His early studies were made at the Pious Schools of San Pantaleone, whence he passed to the Roman College. At the age of sixteen, he resolved to become a secular priest, and on 16 May, 1820, he was ordained. He celebrated his first Mass in the church of the Gesù in Frascati. On 25 July he became a Doctor of Theology, and was soon made a substitute professor of theology in the Roman Archigymnasium. He gave promise of being a distinguished theologian, but decided to dedicate himself entirely to pastoral work.
Then his apostolate began. With prayer and penance, with his labors in the pulpit and the confessional, with his efforts on behalf of the sick and the endangered, and especially on behalf of young clerics in the Roman seminary, he did a measureless amount of good. In fact, it is well known that the saint often bilocated so as to be able to reach more souls when necessary.
From morning until night he could be seen hurrying along the streets of Rome to assist at the bedside of the sick in the hospitals, to bring aid and comfort to the poor in their miserable dwellings, or to preach to the unfortunates in prison. Once he went so far as to disguise himself as an old woman in order to reach the bedside of a dying young man, who had a pistol under his pillow ready to kill the first priest who should approach him. During the cholera plague in 1837, Pallotti constantly endangered his life in ministering to the stricken.
After a day spent in apostolic labour he was accustomed to pass almost the whole night in prayer, disciplining himself even to blood, and sleeping for a few hours on a chair or on the bare floor. The most distinguished representatives of the Roman aristocracy, bishops, cardinals, and even Popes Gregory XVI and Pius IX honoured him, but the only advantage he took of their friendship was to advocate the claims of the poor. Even as a young man, he often returned home barefooted, after having given away half his clothing in alms; and more than once was he known to have given away his bed to the needy. Leo XIII, who spoke from his personal observations, said he would not hesitate to consider him a saint. Shortly after his death the preparatory examinations for his beatification began; in 1887 he was declared Venerable.
The body of Saint Vincent Pallotti was exhumed in 1906 and 1950, and his body was found to be completely incorrupt.
He was canonized 20 January, 1963, by Pope John XXIII.
Image: Bust of st. Vincent Pallotti in Ołtarzew, Poland (3)
Research by Ed Masters, REGINA Staff