Saint Paul of the Cross,
Founder, Passionist Order



Feast Day:
April 28 [New Calendar]


Paul Francis Danei, founder of the Passionists, was born in Ovada, Italy in 1694 on January 3, the eldest son of noble parents. At fifteen while still at home in Lombardy he adopted an autsere way of life that included great mortifications. In 1714 he joined the Venetian army to fight the Turks , and when discharged a year later, he resumed his life of prayer and penance, refusing marriage. He remained at home in Castellazzo for several years as a retreat; but in 1720 he had a vision of Our Lady in a black habit with the name Jesus  and a cross in white on the chest in which she told him to found a religious order devoted to preaching the Passion of Christ. He received permission to proceed from the bishop of Alessandria, who decided the visions were authentic, and Paul drew up a rule during a forty-day retreat that became the basic role for the congregation he was to found. With his brother, John the Baptist, who became his inseparable companion and closest confidant, he went to Rome for papal approval, was refused at first, but on their return to Rome in 1725 were granted permission to accept novices from Pope Benedict XIII, who ordained them in 1727.

They set up a house on Monte Argentaro, lost many of their first novices because of the severity of the rule, opened their first monastery in 1737, and in 1741 received approval of a modified rule from Pope Benedict XIV, and the Barefooted Clerks of the Holy Cross and Passion [the Passionists] began to spread throughout Italy, in great demand for their missions, which became famous. Paul was elected first superior general, against his will, at the first general chapter at Monte Argentaro and held that position the rest of his life. He preached all over the Papal States to tremendous crowds, raised them to a fever pitch as he scourged himself in public, and brought back to the faith the most hardened sinners and criminals. He was blessed with supernatural gifts-----prophecy, miracles of healing, appearances to people in visions in distant places-----and was one of the most celebrated preachers of his time. People fought to touch him and to get a piece of his tunic as a relic. One of his particular concerns was for the conversion of sinners, for which he prayed for fifty years.

The Passionists received final approbation from Pope Clement XIV in 1769, and two years later, Paul's efforts to create an institute of nuns came into being with the opening of the first house of the Passionist nuns, at Corneto. He was ill the last three years of his life, and died in Rome on October 18, and was canonized in 1867. His Feast day is October 19 in the traditional calendar. 

Prayer to Saint Paul of the Cross

O glorious Saint Paul of the Cross, on earth thou wast a mirror of innocence and a model of penance! O hero of saintliness, chosen by God to meditate day and night on the bitter Passion of His only-begotten Son, and to spread devotion thereto by word and deed as well as by means of thy religious family! O Apostle, mighty in word and work, thou didst spend thy life in bringing back to the foot of the Cross the erring souls of countless unfortunate sinners! Do thou mercifully look down once more from Heaven upon my poor soul and hear my petitions. Obtain for me so great a love of Jesus suffering, that by constant meditation on His Passion I may make His sufferings mine. Let me realize in the deep Wounds of my Savior the wickedness of my transgressions, and obtain from them, as from the fountain of salvation, the grace of bitter tears and an effectual resolution to imitate thee in thy penance, if I have not followed thine example of innocence. Obtain for me, also, Saint Paul, the favor that I now especially ask of thee, as I humbly kneel before thee . . . Obtain, moreover, for our Holy Mother the Church, victory over Her foes; for sinners, the gift of conversion; for heretics, the grace of returning to the unity of the Catholic faith. Finally, intercede for me that I may, by the grace of God, die a holy death, and come at last to enjoy with thee His blessed Presence in Heaven for all eternity. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

A Prayer to Saint Paul of the Cross

O glorious Saint Paul of the Cross, who, by meditating on the Passion of Jesus Christ, didst attain to so high a degree of holiness on earth and of happiness in Heaven, and, by preaching the same Passion, didst offer anew to the world the most certain cure for all its ills, obtain for us the grace to keep it ever deeply engraved in our hearts, that so we may be able to reap the same fruits both in time and in eternity. Amen.

Prayer to Jesus for Mercy

Lord Jesus Christ, eternal and merciful God, Creator and Redeemer of all, listen to my prayer.

For the love Thou doth bear to those who ask forgiveness, look on me with mercy, as once Thou didst look on Mary Magdalen, and on Peter who denied Thee.

Look on me, Lord Jesus Christ, as Thou didst looked at the thief on his cross and on every sinner whom Thou hast ever forgiven.

Look on me, merciful Lord, as Thou didst look on Thy Mother, Mary, standing in sorrow beneath Thy Cross.

Let me feel in my heart her compassion for Thee, and let my eyes weep for Thy sorrows, caused by my sinful life.

Call me back from the darkness to my Father's house, give me a new heart and a place at Thy side in the banquet Thou hast prepared for me. Amen.

Prayer To Jesus Crucified

Lord Jesus Christ,
I thank Thee for loving me so completely.

Thou didst embrace the Cross so willingly,
Thou didst hang there so patiently,
Thou didst suffere so painfully,
and for me, a sinner,
Thou didst die and rise again on the third day.

Now, Lord, I commend myself to Thy love,
to the power of Thy Passion,
to the depths of Thy endless mercy.

Jesus Christ,
in Thy measureless pity,
keep alive in me the memory
of Thy Holy Wounds and bitter death.

Gentle Jesus,
defend me in all danger,
and keep me so that
I may stand before Thee in joy.

Protect my soul, Lord Jesus Christ,
which Thou hast bought with Thy Precious Blood. Amen.
O Cross of Christ, Immortal Tree
O Cross of Christ, immortal tree On which our Savior died,
The world is sheltered by your arms That bore the Crucified.
From bitter death and barren wood the tree of life is made;
Its branches bear unfailing fruit And leaves that never fade.
Give glory to the risen Christ And to his Cross give praise,
The sign of God's unfailing love, The hope of all our days.

Prayer Before The Cross

Jesus, by this saving sign,
bless this listless soul of mine.
Jesus, by Thy feet nailed fast,
mend the missteps of my past.
Jesus, with Thy riven hands,
bend my will to love's demands.
Jesus, in Thy Heart laid bare,
warm my inner coldness there.
Jesus, by Thy thorn-crowned head,
still my pride till it is dead.
Jesus, by Thy muted tongue,
stay my words that hurt someone.
Jesus, by Thy tired eyes,
open mine to faith's surprise.
 Jesus, by Thy fading breath,
keep me faithful until death.
Yes, Lord, by this saving sign,
save this wayward soul of mine.