Saint Philip Neri, Confessor – May 26

Saint 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 the 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. Philip, desirous of
serving God without worldly distractions, went to Rome
in 1533 and became preceptor to the children of a
Florentine nobleman. Even at this period of his life he
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.
He 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 of 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.
PRAYER: O God, who raised up Blessed Philip, Thy
Confessor, with the glory of Thy saints, mercifully grant
that we who rejoice in his feast may profit by the example
of his virtues. Amen. Lives of the Saints, pgs. 201-203.