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Saint of the Day for 19 October: St Paul of the Cross

The founder of the Passionists: a mystical saint and apostle


Paolo Francesco Danei




03 January 1694, Ovada, Piedmont


18 October 1775, Rome


19 October


2004 edition


01 May 1853, Rome, Pope Pius IX


29 June 1867, Rome, Pope Pius IX


O glorious Saint Paul, who was on earth a mirror of innocence and an exemplar of penance. O hero of holiness, chosen by God to meditate day and night on the most bitter Passion of his only-begotten Son, and to propagate its devotion in the world by word, by example, and by means of your Institute. O Apostle, mighty in deed and word, who consumed your life in bringing back to the feet of the Crucified One the wounded souls of so many miserable sinners. Deh! look down on my soul from Heaven again, and listen to my prayers. Impose upon me such love for the Passionate Jesus, that, meditating on him continually, I may make his sufferings my own, recognise in the deep wounds of my Saviour the malice of my sins, and draw from them as from fountains of health, the grace of weeping bitterly over them, and an efficacious will to imitate you in penance, if I have not followed you in innocence. Impose upon me, O St Paul, the grace that I particularly and unceasingly ask of you here prostrate. (express the one you desire). Moreover, obtain for the Holy Church, our Mother, victory over her enemies, obtain for sinners conversion, obtain for heretics, and especially for England, for which you prayed so much, a return to the Catholic Faith. Finally, intercede for me from God a holy death, that I may come with you to enjoy it in Heaven for all eternity. So be it. A Pater, Ave and Gloria.

Patron Saint of


Roman Martyrology

St Paul of the Cross, priest, who from his youth shone with a spirit of penance and zeal and, moved by a singular charity towards Christ crucified contemplated in the face of the poor and the sick, established the Congregation of the Clerics Regular of the Cross and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. His death anniversary, which occurred in Rome, falls on the day before this one.


The Saint and Mission

St. Paul of the Cross, founder of the Congregation of Passionists, is an emblematic figure in the landscape of Christian spirituality, particularly for his deep devotion to the Passion of Christ. His life and ministry were guided by an ardent desire to bring souls back to God through meditation on the afflictions and sacrifices of Christ on the cross. His mission was not only to preach and establish a new religious community, but to live and share the transforming experience of the cross.

St. Paul of the Cross deeply understood that at the heart of the Christian message is the cross: a symbol of suffering, yes, but also of redemption and hope. He saw in the Passion not only the greatest proof of God’s love for humanity, but also the key to understanding the depth of the divine mystery. For Paul, meditating on the Passion meant immersing himself in the reality of God’s love, a love that sacrifices, that gives itself without reserve.

His mission, therefore, became a twofold vocation: on the one hand, to personally experience this mystery through prayer, penance and imitation of Christ; on the other, to proclaim to all the saving power of the cross. He wanted everyone to experience the freedom and joy that come from the realization of God’s infinite love manifested in the Passion.

In the historical and cultural context in which he lived, St. Paul of the Cross recognized a growing indifference to spiritual values and a loss of a sense of the sacred. In response, he devoted himself fervently to his evangelical mission, seeking to awaken in hearts the flame of faith and love for Christ. His preaching, intense and charismatic, drew directly from his personal experience of God, making it authentic and touching.

But the mission of St. Paul of the Cross did not stop at preaching. The founding of the Congregation of Passionists testifies to his long-term vision of creating a community that would perpetuate the memory of Christ’s Passion. The members of this community would have the task of living and proclaiming the mystery of the cross, leading souls to conversion and spiritual renewal.

In conclusion, St. Paul of the Cross, with his intense Passion-centered spirituality, reminds us that the Christian mission is not merely to proclaim a message, but to live firsthand the experience of God’s redemptive love. His life and ministry are an invitation to all of us to immerse ourselves in the mystery of the cross, the source of salvation and hope, and to share this treasure with the world around us.

The Saint and Mercy

St. Paul of the Cross, known as the great apostle of the Passion of Christ, was distinguished for his profound understanding of divine mercy, manifested through the sufferings of the Savior. His life and teaching are imbued with a loving contemplation of the mysteries of the cross, through which he saw reflected the infinite mercy of God toward humanity.

In Paul’s heart, the vision of the Passion was not simply a historical memory or a theological event, but a living and present encounter with God’s love. He recognized in the cross the supreme place where God becomes close to man, sympathizes with his sufferings, and redeems him with a love beyond all human understanding. For Paul, the cross was a clear demonstration of what God was willing to do out of love for man, a love expressed through the supreme act of mercy: the sacrifice of his own Son.

St. Paul of the Cross’ emphasis on divine mercy was not mere theological speculation. It was rather the fruit of a deep personal experience of God’s forgiveness and tenderness. Paul knew that true conversion arose not so much from fear of judgment but from the knowledge that we are loved by a God who, despite our frailties and sins, chooses to offer us a new chance, a new life.

Mercy, for Paul, was not only an attribute of God but also a calling for every Christian. He was convinced that those who have experienced God’s tenderness cannot help but become instruments of that same mercy toward others. His life was marked by concrete gestures of charity, patient and compassionate listening, and constant efforts to alleviate the suffering of others, both physical and spiritual.

Yet, the mercy of St. Paul of the Cross was never mushy or superficial. It was rooted in the truth of the Gospel and the conviction that God’s love calls us to a deep conversion, to a true transformation of the heart. This merciful love does not deny the reality of sin, but rather overcomes it, offering hope and renewal to those who open themselves to the divine gift.

St. Paul of the Cross offers us a renewed vision of God’s mercy, understood as a love that saves, redeems and transforms. His spirituality, anchored in the contemplation of Christ’s Passion, invites us to rediscover the depth of God’s love and to respond with a life of grace and charity, becoming ourselves tangible signs of divine mercy in the world.

Congregation of Passionists

The Congregation of Passionists, founded by St. Paul of the Cross in the 18th century, is a shining example of dedication and love for the mystery of Christ’s Passion. Born from the profound vision of its founder, this religious community has always had as the core of its charism the meditation and spread of the message contained in Jesus’ redemptive sacrifice on the cross.

St. Paul of the Cross, inspired by mystical visions and an intense prayer life, understood the centrality of Christ’s Passion as the key to understanding God’s unlimited love for humanity. This spiritual insight was not limited to mere contemplation, but became a mission: to ensure that every heart could approach this mystery and draw strength, hope and renewal from it.

The Congregation of Passionists, faithful to this vision, has worked tirelessly to convey the message of the cross through preaching, teaching and works of mercy. The very habit they wear, marked by a heart with the inscription “Passio Jesu Christi,” is a constant reminder of their commitment to live and spread the paschal mystery of death and resurrection.

The Passionist charism is not limited only to the commemoration of Christ’s suffering, but also extends to solidarity with the sufferings of humanity. Recognizing in the face of the suffering person the face of Christ, Passionists have always spent themselves in works of charity, showing special concern for the most vulnerable and the margins of society. Their spirituality guides them to see the Passion not only as an event of the past, but as a living reality present in the wounds of humanity today.

The presence of Passionists in different parts of the world testifies to their universal vocation and desire to bring the saving message of the cross to every culture and people. Their lives, marked by prayer, community and mission, are a constant reminder that at the heart of Christianity is a God who suffers with us, who sacrifices for us and who calls us to do the same for our brothers and sisters.

In a world that often tries to escape suffering or deny it, the Congregation of Passionists remains a prophetic sign, reminding us that it is through the cross, through the acceptance and transformation of suffering, that true redemption and the fulfillment of love is found. Their mission is, therefore, essential not only for the Church, but for every heart that authentically seeks meaning and hope in the mystery of life and death.


He was born in Ovada in Piedmont, to a noble family from Castellazzo, near Alexandria. When he was born, the room was illuminated with most vivid light, and while still a child he was by the august Queen of Heaven saved from certain shipwreck, signs these which clearly manifest God’s divine designs on our saint. With the use of reason he began to blaze forth his love for Jesus, and, contemplating the sorrows and…


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