Vincent Pallotti

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Saint Vincent Pallotti
San Vincenzo Pallotti.jpg
Born (1795-04-21)April 21, 1795
Rome, Papal States
Died January 22, 1850(1850-01-22)
Rome, Papal States
Honored in
Roman Catholic Church
Beatified January 22, 1950 by Pope Pius XII
Canonized January 20, 1963, Rome by Pope John XXIII
Feast January 22

Saint Vincent Pallotti (April 21, 1795 – January 22, 1850) was an Italian ecclesiastic, born in Rome, and a saint. He was the founder of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate later to be known as Pious Society of Missions (the Pallotines). The original name was restored in 1947. He is buried in the church of San Salvatore in Onda. He is considered the forerunner of Catholic Action.

Biography[edit]

Vincent Pallotti was born in Rome on April 21, 1795. He was descended from the noble families of the Pallotti of Norcia and the De Rossi of Rome. His early studies were made at the Pious Schools of San Pantaleone, and from there he passed to the Roman College. At the age of sixteen, he resolved to become a priest, and was ordained on May 16, 1820. Shortly thereafter he earned a doctorate in theology.[1]

He was given an assistant professorship at the Sapienza University but resigned it soon after to devote himself to pastoral work. Pallotti worked selflessly looking after the poor in the urban areas of the city for most of his life. He organized schools for shoemakers, tailors, coachmen, carpenters, and gardeners so that they could better work at their trade, as well as evening classes for young farmers and unskilled workers. He soon became known as a "second St. Philip Neri". He once dressed up as an old woman to hear the confession of a man who threatened "to kill the first priest who came through the door".[1]

In 1835, Pallotti founded the Society of the Catholic Apostolate, a community of priests and brothers.[2] The Society was placed under the protection of Mary, Queen of Apostles. During the cholera plague in 1837, Pallotti constantly endangered his life in ministering to the stricken.[3]

In 1838 the Society was ordered dissolved, as it was seen as a duplication of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. Pallotti appealed this decision to the Pope and the order of dissolution was withdrawn.[4]

However, as soon as Vincent died in 1850 there was more trouble and presumably the original decree of dissolution was unearthed. When Vincent's last defender Cardinal Lambruscini died in 1854, the name of the Society was abruptly changed to "The Pious Society of Missions". This lasted until 1947 when "by a gracious act of the Holy See" the original name of the society was restored.

He had an intense devotion to the mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity, and to the Virgin Mary. His contemporaries, including the pope, considered him a saint during his life.

When Pallotti's body was exhumed in 1906 and 1950, examiners found his body to be completely incorrupt (see Dr. Gaynor's book), a sign of holiness in the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. His body is enshrined in the church of San Salvatore in Onda, in Rome, where it can be seen, still intact. He was canonized in 1963 by Pope John XXIII.[5][6]

Legacy[edit]

Pallotti was deemed a patron of Vatican II for his efforts toward building unity in the Church through such practices as inviting the people of his community to worship in the Roman parishes of Eastern Catholic Churches.

His followers are the Pallottines, still operating internationally. They follow his motto, "The love of Christ impels us" (Caritas Christi Urget Nos). Members of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate work as everyday missionaries to "renew faith and rekindle love." They work to fulfill the mission of their founder in the modern world. The Pallottines have major houses in Britain, Germany, New York, Poland, India, Ireland and several other locations.

The Congregation of the Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate, commonly referred to as Pallottines, is an international community founded in Rome, Italy by St. Vincent Pallotti. The Pallottine Sisters trace their beginnings to the Pia Casa di Carità (Pious House of Charity) he established in Rome in 1838. This was a work dedicated to the religious and civil education of young girls who had been abandoned on the streets of Rome to procure food through begging. It is a work that is still operating today. [7]

The Missionary Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate began in Germany as a response to the missionary needs in the Cameroons which were being administrated by the Pallottine Fathers.[8]

During the Christmas Season, a nativity scene that Saint Vincent made himself is put on display at the Vatican, in the Basilica's square, before the Christmas tree. Vincent promoted the celebration of the Octave of the Epiphany as an act of unity with his Orthodox brethren who celebrated Christmas on Jan 6th. at that time (now Jan.7th).

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