Patron of Rome
St. Philip was born in Florence in 1515, the very same year that St. Teresa was born at Avila in Spain. From his sixth year he was characterized by most perfect obedience toward his parents. Having finished his classical studies at eighteen, he was sent to an uncle who lived near Monte Cassino. But St. Phillip, desirous of serving God without worldly distractions, went to Rome in 1533 and become preceptor to the children of a Florentine nobleman.
Even at this period of his life Philip obtained a great reputation for sanctity. While teaching others he devoted himself to the study of Philosophy and Theology. His desire to save souls caused him to establish the Confraternity of the Blessed Trinity in 1548, with the object of serving pilgrims and the sick. In obedience to his confessor he became a priest in June 1551, at nearly thirty-six years of age.
The saintly priest now began to dwell in a small community near the Church of St. Jerome, continuing his mortified life. In the same year he laid the foundation for the Congregation of the Oratory. In 1575, Gregory XIII approved it, and in 1583 gave to St. Philip the new Church of La Vallicella, which is still called La Chiesa Nuova—The New Church.
Here the Saint lived, edifying all Rome by his virtues and laboring zealously for souls in the ministry of the confessional. He enjoyed the favor of Popes Pius IV and V, Gregory XIII and XIV and Clement VIII, and the friendship of many great men, among whom was St. Charles Borromeo. After a life of penance and of eminent usefulness, St. Philip died in 1595, and he was canonized in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV.
PRAYER: God, You never cease raising Your faithful servant to the glory of holiness. Grant that we may be inflamed by the fire of the Holy Spirit that so wonderfully burned in the heart of St. Philip. Amen.