Paul Daneo, now known as St. Paul of the Cross, was born at Ovada in the Republic of Genoa, on January3, 1694. He was inspired from on high to found a congregation; in an ecstasy he beheld the habit that he and his companions were to wear. After consulting his director, Bishop Gastinara of Alexandria in Piedmont, he realized that God wished him to establish a congregation in honor of the Passion of Jesus.
On November 22, 1720, the Bishop vested Paul with the habit that been shown to him in a vision, the same that the Passionists wear at the present time. From that moment the Saint applied himself to prepare the Rules of his institute; and in 1721 he went to Rome to obtain the approbation of the Holy See. At first he failed, but he finally succeeded when Benedict XIV approved the Rules in 1741 and 1746. Meanwhile St. Paul built his first monastery near Obitello. Some time later he established a larger community at the Church of Sts. John and Paul in Rome.
For fifty years St. Paul remained the indefatigable missionary of Italy. God gave him the greatest gifts in the supernatural order, but he treated himself with the greater rigor, and believed he was a useless servant and a great sinner.
Tireless preacher of the word of the Cross, outstanding superior of the Congregation, eminent model of penance and contemplation, and enlightened director of souls, Paul of the Cross is considered the greatest mystic of the 18th century. He died in Rome on October 18, 1775, and was canonized in 1867 by Pope Pius IX.
PRAYER: Lord, may the prayers of St. Paul who lowed the Cross with a singular love gain Your grace for us. May we be inspired by his example and embrace our own cross with courage. Amen.