Paul of The Cross

1694-1775. Founder of the Passionists.* Born Paolo Francesco Danei at Ovada, Italy, he led a life of austerity and became a hermit in 1720. In a forty-day retreat he drew up a Rule for a religious order to honor Christ's passion. Benedict XIII permitted him to receive novices (1725), and he was ordained (1727). He labored as a missionary at Monte Argentaro. The first Passionist “Retreat” was opened (1737), his Rule was approved by Benedict XIV (1746), and Paul was elected superior-general (1747). From 1769 he lived in Rome. He founded the Order of Passionist Nuns (1771), and in 1773 the Church of SS. John and Paul in Rome became the headquarters of the Passionists. By the time of his death he had established twelve monasteries in Italy. An eloquent preacher, especially on the Passion, he was renowned also as a miracle worker and spiritual director.