vendredi 22 janvier 2016

Saint VINCENT PALLOTTI, prêtre et fondateur


Saint Vincent Pallotti

Fondateur de la Société de l'Apostolat Catholique ( 1850)

Prêtre romain qui fonda la Société de l'Apostolat Catholique. Après une brève période comme professeur de théologie, il se voua au travail pastoral à Rome et fonda la Congrégation des Pallotins.
En 1836, il créa une semaine de Prière en faveur de l'unité des Églises orientales, dans l'octave de l'Épiphanie.

Il s'intéressa également à l'union avec la Communion anglicane. Il fut Canonisé en janvier 1963.

Le Pape Paul VI a pu dire de lui: ”Vincent Pallotti a été un précurseur…Il a devancé de près de cent ans la découverte du fait suivant : dans le monde des laïcs, jusqu'à présent passif, somnolent, craintif et incapable de s'exprimer, il existe une prodigieuse énergie au service du bien.

Saint Vincent a frappé à la conscience des laïcs comme on frappe à une porte.” (1er septembre 1963 à Frascati)

Voir aussi le site des Pères Pallottins en France qui fêtent le cinquantenaire de la Canonisation de leur Fondateur.

À Rome en 1850, Saint Vincent Palloti, Prêtre, Fondateur de la Société de l’Apostolat Catholique, qui stimula, par ses écrits et ses œuvres, la vocation de tous ceux qui sont Baptisés dans Le Christ à travailler activement en faveur de l’Église.

Martyrologe romain

Saint Vincent Pallotti affirme: "La règle fondamentale de notre petite Congrégation est la vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ pour l'imiter avec toute la perfection possible".

SOURCE : http://nominis.cef.fr/contenus/saint/485/Saint-Vincent-Pallotti.html



Saint Vincent Pallotti

Prêtre et Fondateur de la

« Societas Apostolatus Cattolici »



Vincent (Vincenzo) Pallotti nait à Rome, le 21 Avril 1795, troisième de dix enfants de  Pietro Paolo et Maria Maddalena De Rossi.

Ses premières études eurent lieu à l'école de San Pantaleone, puis il alla au collège à Rome.

C'est à l'âge de 16 ans qu'il souhaita devenir Prêtre. Le 16 mai 1820, il était ordonné et célébrait sa première Messe dans l'église du Gesù (Frascati) à l'autel de Notre-Dame-Refuge-des-Pécheurs (Refugium peccatorum).

Le 25 Juillet, il devenait docteur es théologie, et fut nommé professeur de théologie. Il était un excellent théologien, et aurait pu faire une brillante carrière dans l'enseignement de cette discipline, mais sa vocation le porta plutôt vers l'apostolat.

Il parcourait la ville de Rome, apportant aide matérielle et réconfort à la population misérable, prêchant l'évangile, vivant de peu, et partageant le peu qu'il avait, écoutant les confessions, et aidant spirituellement tous les fidèles qui venaient à lui.

Parallèlement, dans le contexte qui était celui où il vivait, avec l'aide de quelques collaborateurs, il œuvrait à la coordination de toutes les initiatives apostoliques qui impliquaient les Chrétiens, Religieux et laïcs, afin que la mission et l'action de l'Église se propagent partout.

Le Père Pallotti était persuadé de l'importance de la Charité et de sa mise en œuvre par tous les Catholiques afin d'apporter la Bonne Nouvelle à tous.

C'est ainsi qu'en 1835, il fonda la Pieuse Société des Missions qui deviendra la « Societas Apostolatus Cattolici » (Société de l'Apostolat Catholique - Congrégation connue sous l'appellation des Pallottins), mise en place pour animer des groupes de Prêtres et de laïcs œuvrant à l'action Catholique.

Par ailleurs, le Père Pallotti, dès 1836, a commencé à promouvoir l'observance de l'octave de l'Épiphanie, qui est toujours célébrée ; son but étant d'être un signe de rapprochement avec les Églises orientales.

Le 14 août 1844, le Pape
Grégoire XVI confie l'église San Salvatore in Onda de Rome à la jeune Communauté.

C'est dans ces lieux que Vincent Pallotti meurt prématurément d'un refroidissement, le 22 Janvier 1850; il était âgé de 55 ans.

Son œuvre est continuée par ses collaborateurs, et les pères
pallottins sont actuellement environ 2 300 de par le monde.

Déclaré Vénérable en 1887 par le Pape Léon XIII (Vincenzo Pecci, 1878-1903), qui le considérait déjà comme un Saint, Vincenzo Pallotti fut Béatifié le 22 Janvier 1950 par le Vénérable Pie XII (Eugenio Pacelli, 1939-1958), et Canonisé le 20 Janvier 1963 par Saint Jean XXIII (Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, 1958-1963).

Les Pallottins sont voués aux Missions, à l'apostolat de la jeunesse à travers des œuvres d'éducation, à l'apostolat de la presse et à diverses œuvres d'assistance.

Ils attachent de l'importance à la participation commune des Prêtres, des laïcs et des Religieux et à la promotion du laïcat.

Des Missions existent notamment en Amérique du Sud, Australie, Inde, Afrique, Océanie. La Congrégation compte 2391 membres en 2008, dont 1640 Prêtres en 2005, répartis en 407 maisons.
Il existe aussi une Congrégation des Sœurs de l'Apostolat Catholique, appelées Pallottines.

Les Pères Pallotins œuvrent en France à la diffusion des messages reçus par Sainte Faustine Kowalska.

Ils éditent une très belle petite revue trimestrielle le « Messager de la Miséricorde Divine ».


SOURCE : http://levangileauquotidien.org/main.php?language=FR&module=saintfeast&localdate=20160122&id=14503&fd=0




Vincent Pallotti
prêtre, fondateur, saint
1795-1850

Paulette Leblanc

Vincenzo Pallotti, prêtre romain, fonda la Société de l’Apostolat Catholique. Après une brève période comme professeur de théologie, il se voua au travail pastoral à Rome et fonda la Congrégation des Pallotins. En 1836, il créa une semaine de prière en faveur de l’unité des Églises orientales, dans l’octave de l’Épiphanie. Il s’intéressa également à l’union avec la Communion anglicane. Il fut canonisé en janvier 1963.
Vincent Pallotti est né à Rome le 21 avril 1795. Il y vécut, sans interruption, jusqu’à sa mort le 22 janvier 1850. Sa famille qui appartenait à la bourgeoisie de Rome fut, pour lui, l’endroit où il expérimenta les richesses de l’amour. Il reçut une excellente formation intellectuelle et religieuse. Jeune homme calme et réfléchi, Vincent s’unissait de plus en plus profondément à Dieu dont il découvrait l’Amour et la Miséricorde infinis. Il entra au séminaire pour devenir prêtre diocésain à l’âge de seize ans, et fut ordonné le 16 mai 1818: il avait 23 ans.
C’est vers cette époque qu’il écrivit ce qui devait caractériser toute sa vie: “J’implore Dieu qu’Il daigne faire de moi un ouvrier infatigable.”  Il désirait “être nourriture pour rassasier les affamés, vêtement pour revêtir ceux qui sont nus, boisson pour rafraîchir les assoiffés, remède pour fortifier l’estomac de ceux qui sont faibles, soin pour soulager les souffrances des malades, des estropiés, des muets et des sourds, lumière pour éclairer ceux qui sont aveugles physiquement et spirituellement, vie pour ressusciter les morts par la grâce de Dieu.”
Autant que l’on puisse en juger, il fut pleinement exaucé, et l’énoncé de ce qu’il a pu réaliser au cours de ses 32 ans d’activité pastorale, à une époque très tourmentée, est absolument incroyable.
Le cœur de Vincent brûlait d’amour pour Dieu et du désir de ranimer la foi et l’amour dans le peuple de Dieu. Ce fut le but de l’Union de l’Apostolat Catholique qu’il créa en 1835. “Souvenons-nous, écrit-il que de toutes les œuvres divines, la plus sainte, la plus noble, la plus auguste et la plus divine, est l’œuvre de coopération au dessein miséricordieux, aux souhaits de Dieu pour le salut du monde.” Par l’Apostolat Catholique, l’engagement des chrétiens devait devenir universel. L’Union de l’Apostolat Catholique fut le point de départ d’un nouvel Ordre religieux: les Pallotins.
Les divisions dans l’Église du Christ brisaient le cœur de Vincent. C’est lui qui institua les premières semaines de l’unité, durant l’octave de la fête de l’Épiphanie.
Sur le plan personnel il s’engageait pleinement sur le chemin de la sainteté, tout en ayant conscience de son état de pécheur. Il regrettait que les vies de saints ne parlent jamais de leurs faiblesses, et à ce propos il écrivit: “Remarquez que dans les biographies des saints, on ne trouve aucun chapitre sur leurs fautes. Si on ajoutait cependant ce chapitre, il serait certainement le plus long.”
Étonnant homme d’action, et mystique authentique que Vincent Pallotti, professeur et répétiteur d’université, confesseur recherché, aumônier de séminaire et prédicateur, défenseur des ouvriers et des paysans sans défense, prédicateur apprécié, auteur de nombreux livres et d’articles, promoteur de missions et fondateur de communautés religieuses.
Il convient d‘insister ici sur le fait que Vincent Pallotti se consacra à la confession durant toute sa vie, car la confession est une réponse à l’Amour et à la Miséricorde de Dieu. Que de gens vinrent à lui, même des cardinaux ou des papes, car il était devenu un grand maître dans ce service tellement difficile.
L’œuvre de Vincent Pallotti fut immense et ses idées, révolutionnaires à l’époque, sont plus que jamais actuelles. Comme  la plupart des grands saints en firent l’expérience, l’œuvre de Vincent fut souvent critiquée, jalousée, et soumise à de sourdes   oppositions. Vincent lui-même eut à subir de nombreuses tracasseries et des calomnies... On alla jusqu’à amener le pape à dissoudre son œuvre.
Vincent Palloti souffrit beaucoup de l’incompréhension d’une partie de l’Église romaine à son égard. C’est seulement en priant longuement devant la représentation du  Calvaire qu’il avait établie chez lui, dans sa chambre, qu’il trouvait un peu de force et de réconfort: “Le Chemin le plus sûr est celui de la souffrance. Notre Sauveur, sa Mère et tous les saints ont emprunté ce chemin.”
On peut dire que Vincent Pallotti fut un martyre de la confession, puisque c’est en confessant un pauvre sur les épaules duquel il avait mit son manteau, qu’il contracta la pleurésie dont il mourut le 22 janvier 1850, âgé d’à peine 54 ans.
En 1950, cent ans après sa mort, Vincent Pallotti fut béatifié par le pape Pie XII. Le pape Jean XXIII le canonisa en 1963, pendant le Concile, consacrant, en quelque sorte, les idées de ce précurseur.

L’Œuvre
de Vincenzo Pallotti

Il est clair, dans l’esprit de Vincent Pallotti, qu’il est urgent de”ranimer la foi et de raviver la charité parmi les catholiques”. Cette expression reviendra souvent sous la plume de Vincent Pallotti, comme un leitmotiv. C’est pour répondre à cet appel profond et insistant que Vincent Pallotti s’appliquera, pendant des années, à la réalisation de son œuvre essentielle: la fondation de la Société de l’Apostolat Catholique.

1

La Société de l’Apostolat Catholique

1-1-Qu’est-ce que la Société de l’Apostolat Catholique?

Les “Illuminations”

C’est le 21 septembre 1816 que Vincenzo commence la rédaction de son journal spirituel appelé plus tard Illuminations.
Le vendredi 9 janvier 1835, après la célébration eucharistique: Vincent Pallotti prend conscience, d’une manière irrévocable, du projet général de ce qu’il veut faire. Sa Société comprendra:
            – Une œuvre missionnaire universelle.
            – Un mouvement de renouveau religieux et moral pour le peuple chrétien.
            – Une œuvre universelle d’amour.
Entre le 14 et le 17 juillet et le 26 mars 1840, cette illumination, ou inspiration, se fait décisive. Cette Société sera d’abord nommée  L’Union. Plus tard, elle s’appellera La Société de l’Apostolat Catholique. Son but principal sera de  ”ranimer la foi et raviver la charité parmi les catholiques, en vue de les propager dans toutes les parties du monde... afin qu’il n’y ait plus qu’un seul   troupeau et un seul pasteur.
Comme tous les fondateurs d’œuvres qui viennent de Dieu, Vincent Pallotti eut à subir de nombreuses contradictions, même de la part de ceux qui auraient dû le soutenir. Nous en parlerons plus loin.

1-2-L’intuition de départ

À l’origine, il y a le désir d’un prêtre romain (Vincenzo Pallotti), de faire imprimer, en langue arabe, le livre de Saint Alphonse de Liguori sur “Les Vérités chrétiennes”. Ce prêtre romain encouragea vivement un laïc pieux à se procurer, par des aumônes, l’argent nécessaire  pour couvrir les frais d’impression. Afin de poursuivre l’œuvre commencée, et de faire face aux multiples besoins de l’Église, tout en évitant les malveillances qui déjà se faisaient jour, il convenait d’instituer une société religieuse qui aurait la “tâche de multiplier les moyens spirituels et matériels nécessaires et appropriés pour ranimer la foi parmi les catholiques, ranimer l’amour et répandre l’un et l’autre dans le monde entier.”  Et cela, d’une part en s’efforçant d’unir les clergés séculier et régulier, et, d’autre part, en incitant les laïcs de toutes conditions à collaborer à l’œuvre commune. C’est la Congrégation des Prêtres et des Frères qui aura pour tâche de diriger et répandre la Société de l’Apostolat Catholique.
En effet, constate Vincent Pallotti, des personnes dispersées perdent facilement leur persévérance, leur énergie et leur zèle dans les œuvres de charité. D’où la nécessité de créer une association de prêtres et de frères réunis dans un état de vie commune. Les prêtres ne seront pas appelés des clercs réguliers: “ils devront tout simplement s’appeler prêtres de la Congrégation de l’Apostolat Catholique.” Marie sera leur modèle, car ”bien que Marie n’ait pas été prêtre ni apôtre, elle s’est vouée à ces œuvres avec une telle perfection et une telle plénitude, qu’elle s’est mérité, dans le ciel, une gloire plus grande que celle des apôtres.”

2

La Congrégation de prêtres et de frères
de l’Apostolat Catholique
[1]

Après bien des vicissitudes, des contradictions, des oppositions, Vincent Pallotti put enfin réaliser, dans son intégralité, ce qui sera son œuvre: la Société de l’Apostolat catholique, dont la base reposera essentiellement sur la Congrégation des Prêtres et des frères qui sera “en quelque sorte l’âme et la partie animatrice de toute la Société, et en même temps une sorte de trait d’union ou de membre médiateur entre le clergé séculier et le clergé régulier.”

2-1-Le contrat avec la Congrégation

Les prêtres et les frères de la Congrégation sont liés par un contrat et non par des vœux. L’acte essentiel de celui qui s’engage dans la Congrégation, est la consécration à Dieu: “Après leur noviciat, les membres posent l’acte formel de leur consécration qu’ils font d’eux-mêmes à Dieu, non en se liant par un vœu, mais par le lien d’un contrat, se faisant ainsi un devoir de demeurer dans la Congrégation jusqu’à la mort... Dès lors ils s’obligent à vivre jusqu’à leur mort dans la Congrégation, dans l’obéissance, la pauvreté, la chasteté et l’observance des saintes Règles pour coopérer à tous les saints objectifs de cette Congrégation de la Société.”
Il convient de préciser ici que la règle fondamentale de la Société est l’Esprit de l’Amour. La charité, en effet, résume tout l’esprit de la Société de l’Apostolat Catholique.

2-2-L’agrégation à la Congrégation des prêtres et des frères de l’Apostolat catholique

L’agrégation des personnes individuelles constitue trois groupes:
            – Le premier groupe comprend les fidèles désireux de collaborer dans l’apostolat.
            – Le deuxième groupe comprend les clercs, les religieux et les laïcs coopérant dans une communauté de vie, avec la Congrégation, de façon durable ou occasionnelle: ce sont les missionnaires de la société.
            – Le troisième groupe comprend ceux qui sont désireux de mener une vie religieuse dans le monde.
Outre les personnes individuelles, des corps constitués peuvent également être agrégés à la Congrégation. Pour réunir dans un même esprit tous les membres des corps agrégés, des Procures assureront la direction de la société.

2-3-Le mémoire pratique quotidien

Le mémoire Pratique quotidien, c’est le moyen donné par Pallotti aux membres de sa Société pour que leur vie devienne une imitation constante de la vie de Jésus, spécialement de sa vie à Nazareth, au sein de la Sainte Famille. C’est aussi la spiritualité de Vincent Pallotti qui s’y exprime. “...En mangeant, en buvant, dans l’usage des vêtements et dans toute autre chose créée et nécessaire à la vie, nous devons considérer comment il (Jésus) se laisserait guider par sa pureté d’intention et sa modération... En un mot, il nous faut en toute chose nous imaginer voir Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ... devenu notre exemple et modèle et la règle pratique de toute notre vie intérieure.”
Parmi les opérations intérieures principales conseillées par le fondateur de la Société de l’Apostolat Catholique, nous pouvons retenir: l’esprit de sacrifice, l’humilité et la mansuétude du cœur, l’esprit de l’oraison continuelle et de l’union à Dieu.

3

Le Testament spirituel de Vincent Pallotti

En 1840, Pallotti est gravement malade. C’est alors que, secouru par de grandes grâces, il donna ses derniers conseils à ses collaborateurs, conseils que l’on peut considérer comme son Testament spirituel bien qui ait encore près de dix ans à vivre. On peut lire, entre autres: “Pères et Frères bien-aimés en Notre seigneur Jésus-Christ, je dois maintenant et toujours le confesser devant vous et toutes les créatures: je suis intimement convaincu... que la fondation et l’expansion de la Société répondent bien à la volonté divine... En outre, Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ a daigné révéler à une de ses âmes bien-aimées, que c’est lui-même qui avait inspiré tout ce qui a été écrit sur la Société et que je la verrais suffisamment instituée et répandue; l’œuvre contribuera à sa plus grande gloire.”
Vincent Pallotti rappelle aussi la vocation de la Société: “La fin principale et spécifique, particulière aux circonstances actuelles est la formation d’un clergé séculier et régulier édifiant, rempli de zèle pour la gloire de Dieu au profit des âmes... Que Dieu demeure glorifié comme il mérite d’être glorifié; que les âmes soient sanctifiées dans le monde entier comme elles peuvent être sanctifiées par la puissance infinie des mérites de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ. Que soit répandu le culte de la très Sainte Vierge Marie, des Anges et des saints, comme Dieu mérite d’être glorifié dans sa très Sainte Mère, sa Fille et son Épouse.”

4

La Congrégation féminine de l’Apostolat Catholique

Les nombreuses missions de Vincent Pallotti lui montrèrent la détresse des jeunes filles en péril et l’urgente nécessité d’y apporter remède. Un premier foyer éducatif fut ouvert en 1838. Avec lui naissait la Congrégation des Sœurs de l’Apostolat Catholique. Le but de la Congrégation féminine, sa spiritualité et sa Règle, sont comparables à celles de la Congrégation des Prêtres et des Frères.

5

Les vissicitudes de la fondation

Les points qui suivent montrent, à travers les différentes étapes de la fondation, l’évolution de la pensée de Vincent Pallotti.

5-1-Les premières approbations (1835)

Le 4 avril 1835 sera la date officielle de la Fondation de la Société de l’Apostolat Catholique. Puis, à travers trois requêtes adressées aux autorités ecclésiastiques, puis au pape, les buts de la société sont clairement exposés:

Première requête (4 avril 1835)

“Nous avons entrepris de nous rassembler par le lien d’une charité chrétienne d’émulation pour chercher à accroître les moyens spirituels et matériels en vue de répandre la foi sacrée... et hâter le temps désiré par tous les hommes de bien, et prédit par Jésus-Christ, où il n’y aura plus qu’un seul troupeau et un seul pasteur.”

Deuxième requête approuvée le 29 mai 1835

“Quelques prêtres ainsi que de pieux laïcs, les requérants très dévoués de votre révérendissime excellence, ont examiné avec soin le fait que personne ne s’aime soi-même, s’il ne pense pas selon ses possibilités à son salut éternel. L’idée s’est alors imposée à eux que personne n’observe le commandement divin d’aimer notre prochain comme nous-mêmes, s’il n’œuvre pas selon ses possibilités autant au salut éternel de son prochain qu’au sien propre.”

Troisième requête (11 juillet 1835)

“En l’honneur, et sous la protection de la Reine des Apôtres, la Vierge Mère très sainte et immaculée, une association religieuse a été fondée à Rome, qui porte le nom d’Apostolat Catholique. Elle a pour but d’augmenter les moyens spirituels et temporels nécessaires et adéquats pour ranimer la foi et raviver l’amour parmi le catholiques en vue de les répandre partout dans le monde afin de constituer le plus vite possible sur toute la terre un troupeau et un seul pasteur suprême.

5-2-La première Assemblée générale de la nouvelle fondation eut lieu le 14 juillet 1835

Voici quelques-uns des principaux points du programme fixé par l’Assemblée du 14 juillet 1835:
“1° Qui considère la situation actuelle du monde relative à la religion, ressent nettement que malgré les scandales de toutes sortes dont notre temps de malheur a été et est encore le témoin, se manifeste partout un besoin religieux intense pour les questions de la foi, et que même des peuples non chrétiens révèlent une aptitude particulièrement favorable pour l’adoption de la religion catholique.
2°Aussi peut-on même dire que les champs de moisson blanchissent et attendent avec impatience la main qui en assurera la moisson. Mais malheureusement on doit dire aussi: plus la moisson est abondante et mûre, d’autant moindre est le nombre d’ouvriers qui doivent engranger.
3°Les professions ecclésiastiques sont peu nombreuses et deviennent de plus en plus rares. Les ordres religieux qui pourtant témoignent activement du zèle pour les âmes, sont tombés, à la suite des événements passés dans un état de grande détresse...
4°Cependant, pour recruter des ouvriers compétents pour la vigne du Seigneur, Jésus-Christ nous recommande lui-même, dans son saint Évangile, deux moyens: à savoir une prière intense et des dons volontaires...
5°Ces réflexions ont inspiré à quelques personnes pieuses, l’idée de se réunir et d’inviter le plus grand nombre possible de fidèles à s’associer, afin de demander ensemble au Père du Ciel d’envoyer un grand nombre d’ouvriers à sa vigne et, en outre, pour contribuer à leur formation par des dons volontaires... Ainsi en est-on venu à décider... que cette grande foule de chrétiens se rassemble pour former une société religieuse.
6°Telle est donc l’idée et le but de cette association qui se présente ici sous le nom d’Action Catholique, pour le progrès et l’expansion de la foi catholique...
8°Le Sauveur considère la conversion des âmes comme l’œuvre de Dieu par excellence, l’objectif de son bon vouloir.
9°Cette œuvre doit être en outre particulièrement agréable à la Mère de Dieu...
11°Puisque la divine Providence nous fait un devoir de secourir notre frère dans sa détresse temporelle, à combien plus forte raison nous faut-il le secourir dans sa détresse spirituelle...
12°... Finalement beaucoup d’ermites austères, de timides vierges et de zélés gens du monde se verront à leur étonnement et à leur stupéfaction honorés et récompensés dans le ciel comme les médiateurs de la foi de beaucoup d’âmes. Car, quand sur la terre ils portaient témoignage en leur faveur, sans même annoncer l’Évangile, ils ont pourtant préparé leur conversion qu’ils ont obtenue par la profondeur de leurs prières et la présentation de leurs sacrifices...”

5-3-La tâche principale de l’Union

“La société qui a pour tâche principale la propagation de la foi en Jésus-Christ, doit prendre en considération le fait qu’il faut accroître le nombre d’ouvriers de l’Évangile... Prions donc et sans relâche faisons prier autant qu’il est possible, avec humilité, confiance et constance...
... Celui qui, faute de disposer d’autres moyens, fait autant de prières qu’il peut pour raviver la foi et ranimer l’amour parmi les catholiques en vue de les propager dans le monde entier, pourra alors acquérir le mérite de l’apostolat.”
Toutes les personnes qui le souhaitent peuvent être associées à la Société de l’Action Catholique et participer à ses œuvres. Les associés peuvent être des prêtres, des séminaristes, des laïcs ou des religieux, et même des malades dont les prières sont très précieuses.

5-4-Pallotti défend sa société

Comme la plupart des fondateurs, Vincent Pallotti rencontra des oppositions et des incompréhensions. En particulier son association avait été soupçonnée, bien à tort, de vouloir concurrencer une association lyonnaise : l’Œuvre de la Propagation de la Foi, fondée en 1822 par Pauline Jaricot. Aussi Vincent Pallotti fut-il, à plusieurs reprises, obligé de défendre sa fondation et de préciser ses intentions et ses objectifs :
            – imiter et suivre le Christ dans son œuvre de Rédemption : – allumer et entretenir les foyers de feu et d’amour.“C’est l’embrasement du feu divin.”
            – pour la plus grande gloire de Dieu et le salut du genre humain
Par quels moyens ?
Pour allumer encore davantage le feu divin là où il se trouve, et pour le répandre là où il n’existe pas encore, “les moyens sont la prière, les œuvres du ministère évangélique qui mènent au but indiqué, ainsi que les moyens matériels nécessaires et appropriés aux œuvres énumérées.”
Sous quel nom ?
“La Société se nomme “de l’Apostolat Catholique” non pas parce qu’elle prétendrait posséder l’apostolat catholique ou la mission générale de la véritable Église de Jésus-Christ, mais parce qu’elle vénère cet apostolat, le considère, l’aime et le désire vivement, pour qu’il soit soutenu par tous.”
Pallotti donne quelques précisions :
Apôtre signifie : envoyé ;
Apostolat signifie : mission.
Toute mission de la véritable église de Jésus-Christ est catholique. Comme tout vrai chrétien se nomme catholique et l’est également... on nomme aussi toute mission de la vraie Église de Jésus-Christ un Apostolat Catholique,” c’est à dire universel.
En 1839 Pallotti écrit “Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ a mis dans mon esprit la véritable idée de la nature et des œuvres de la Société ayant pour visée générale le progrès, la défense et l’expansion de la piété et de la foi catholique.”
Pourtant, même après que toute menace de dissolution de la fondation ait été écartée, son nom fut modifié pour devenir Pieuse Société Missionnaire. Ce n’est que le 9 juin 1947 que le pape Pie XII rétablit le nom d’origine: Société de l’Apostolat Catholique.
Vincent Pallotti revient constamment sur le but de la Société qu’il est en train de créer. Ainsi, d’une manière ou d’une autre, il revient constamment sur les mêmes idées: La foi, l’amour et l’unité de l’Église.
“La Société en question devrait être fondée en vue d’augmenter les moyens spirituels et matériels, nécessaires et obligatoires, afin de raviver la foi parmi les catholiques et de raviver leur amour, et de les faire répandre l’un et l’autre parmi les hérétiques et les infidèles... afin de hâter le jour où il n’y aura plus qu’un seul troupeau dirigé dans le monde entier par un unique pasteur.”
Les premiers documents de la Société de l’Action catholique insistent beaucoup sur le but de cette fondation. Ainsi, on peut lire:
            “Cette société constitue un corps dont le but est l’expansion et le maintien de la foi ainsi que la conversion et le salut des âmes...” (Appel du 6 mai 1835)
            “Le but de cette association est donc exclusivement la sanctification de ses membres et l’expansion de la foi catholique dans le monde.” (Statuts de l’Apostolat Catholique pour le progrès, la défense de la foi catholique  Chapitre I  Paragraphe 2)
            “Dans ce but, elle se consacre à la pratique de toutes les activités qu’exige le ministère de l’Église, ainsi qu’aux tâches multiples de la charité chrétienne de nature à susciter dans les pays catholiques l’esprit de la foi, du zèle et de la vertu chrétienne.” (Statuts de l’Apostolat Catholique pour le progrès, la défense de la foi catholique  Chapitre I  Paragraphe 3)
            “L’objectif de l’Apostolat Catholique est exclusivement l’honneur de Dieu par la conversion et le salut des âmes. L’unique motif qui doit animer les ouvriers doit être le zèle et le bonheur spirituel. (Statuts de l’Apostolat Catholique pour le progrès, la défense de la foi catholique  Chapitre 2  Paragraphe 6)

6

Les buts de la Société de l’Action Catholique

Quelques extraits de l’Opuscule sur l’Apostolat Catholique

”La Société de l’Apostolat Catholique qui milite sous la protection de la très Sainte Vierge Marie, la Reine des Apôtres, a été fondée à Rome, en vue d’accroître les moyens spirituels et temporels aptes à ranimer la foi et raviver l’amour parmi les catholiques et à étendre le Royaume de Dieu dans toutes les parties du monde , afin qu’il n’y ait qu’un seul troupeau et un seul pasteur selon la promesse du divin Rédempteur... Que chacun songe -qu’il soit juste ou pécheur- que le souci du salut des âmes est l’œuvre la plus précieuse et par là aussi la plus assurée de la miséricorde pour obtenir miséricorde et atteindre sa propre sanctification.

6-1-Le salut des âmes

L’affaire la plus importante du monde est le salut d’une âme: d’où l’importance de la diffusion de la foi, car il s’agit là du salut de millions d’âmes. Pour répandre la foi dans toutes les parties du monde, il faut savoir utiliser tous les talents. “Mais la moisson est abondante et les ouvriers peu nombreux... Et comme ils sont rares ces ouvriers, ces messagers de l’Évangile pleins d’esprit apostolique!... Il suffit de regarder les circonstances présentes. Elles nous montrent des communautés religieuses dont le rétablissement ne s’est pas encore partout effectué... et un clergé en baisse... Qui ne voit la haute et pressante nécessité de prier le maître de la moisson d’envoyer des ouvriers pour engranger la moisson?“ [2]
En résumé :
Pour entrer dans l’œuvre de l’Apostolat Catholique, il faut “s’engager à participer au renouveau de la foi et de la piété dans les pays où elles sont déjà répandues, et pour leur expansion dans les régions les plus éloignées des deux hémisphères, afin que là le sang précieux de Jésus-Christ soit fécond, et que l’on augmente les fruits de la Rédemption et que l’on connaisse son saint Nom.”
Remarque :
“L’Apostolat Catholique n’est pas un ordre religieux, mais une société séculière de fidèles qui, sans aucune obligation particulière, coopèrent, animés de l’esprit de charité, d’émulation avec tous les moyens dont ils disposent au maintien de la piété et à la propagation de la foi catholique.
Le but de cette Société n’est donc pas seulement la sanctification de ses membres et des autres fidèles, mais aussi la propagation de la foi catholique dans le monde entier.” [3] 
Cette Société L”Apostolat Catholique est en dépendance directe du Pape. Vincenzo Pallotti écrit en 1838 dans un texte destiné à préciser les fondements spirituels de la Société de l’Apostolat Catholique : “Un esprit ferme et véritable de profond respect, de prompte obéissance et de vénération religieuse vis-à-vis du pape doit briller dans la Société. Celui-ci est constitué par Jésus-Christ le responsable suprême de la société... car il a seul reçu de Dieu le pouvoir d’envoyer des missionnaires dans tous les pays du monde pour faire entrer les brebis...”

6-2-Les principales activités de l’Association

– Toutes les activités du ministère apostolique,
– La rédaction et la diffusion de livres et d’articles pour éclairer, défendre et maintenir la religion,
– L’intériorisation, l’encouragement, le maintien et la diffusion de toutes sortes d’exercices de piété et de coutumes religieuses, en mesure d’animer la foi, d’exciter la piété et de corriger les mœurs mauvaises dans toutes les couches de la société...” (Statuts de l’Apostolat Catholique pour le progrès, la défense de la foi catholique  Chapitre 2 Paragraphe 4)

Quelques exemples concrets des activités de la Société

En 1838, dans un compte-rendu des activités de sa Société de l’Apostolat catholique, au pape Grégoire XVI, Vincent Pallotti note : “Depuis sa fondation, la Société n’a cessé de fournir aux missionnaires dont elle recevait des nouvelles... des vêtements ecclésiastiques, des calices, des ciboires, ... des rosaires, des revues, des scapulaires, des médailles,, des crucifix, etc.,...
Les missionnaires... ont presque tous été autorisés à agréger des membres... Cette agrégation s’étend aux Indes, en Amérique, en Corée, au Tibet, en Perse, en Chaldée,... en Pologne, en Suisse, en Allemagne, en France, etc. ...”
La société a aidé de nombreux pauvres pendant l’épidémie de choléra à Rome. Elle promeut les œuvres de charité, spirituelles et matérielles, dans les hôpitaux où elle envoie des prêtres et de pieux laïcs. Elle assure la direction des écoles du soir, accueille les jeunes filles en danger, ouvre des écoles gratuites pour les pauvres, fait imprimer et diffuser des livres religieux, des revues, des rosaires, des médailles, etc. ...

6-3-Les associés spirituels

À côté des personnes chargées du ministère, Vincent Pallotti prévoit, dans son œuvre, la présence de membres extérieurs, laïcs, spécialement chargés de prier pour les frères: ce sont les associés spirituels. Dans ce groupe, des femmes peuvent être admises. À ce propos un constat s’impose: Vincent Pallotti,  est-ce son milieu ou son époque?  a une curieuse opinion des femmes et des lourdes tâches familiales qui sont souvent les leurs. Il écrit: “D’ordinaire, le sexe féminin a même plus de penchant et de temps libre!!! pour la prière, et par ailleurs, pour les femmes, la prière est l’unique moyen de s’associer aux progrès du ministère de l’Église. Aussi, à cette classe (les associés spirituels) les femmes vraiment chrétiennes sont admises à devenir membres et, d’une façon particulière, les Vierges consacrées qui sont dans les couvents ou dans d’autres instituts religieux.” [4]
À tous les membres associés, Vincent Pallotti recommande la confession et la communion fréquentes.
Comme pour résumer sa pensée sur l’apostolat, Vincent Palloti écrit : “Puisse donc tout catholique vivant dans l’Église du Christ être rassuré. Car que l’on soit prêtre ou laïc, que, avec ses talents, son influence, ses relations, dans sa profession, par ses paroles, ses possessions et ses biens matériels, et, quand on manque d’autres moyens, au moins par ses prières, l’on fait tout ce que l’on peut en vue de répandre la foi en Jésus-Christ, on pourra obtenir le mérite de l’apostolat.”
Un autre texte, relativement long, présentant la Société, développe les raisons qui justifient l’existence de l’Union.[5]

7

Les moyens de l’Union

7-1-Les procures

Le fonctionnement d’une telle société nécessite une organisation très structurée. Le monde entier sera donc réparti en douze territoires. Chaque procure est mise sous la protection spéciale des douze apôtres et de l’apôtre Saint Paul. Une treizième procure, la Procure Générale, sera établie à Rome, en dépendance du Pape. “La Procure Générale se compose du Directeur et de treize procureurs principaux... Le Directeur exerce sa fonction sous la protection des très saints Cœurs de Jésus et de Marie.”

7-2-Les principaux moyens mis à la disposition des membres de la Société

“Beaucoup de moyens spirituels et temporels sont nécessaires pour raviver la foi et ranimer l’amour parmi les catholiques et répandre l’un et l’autre dans le monde entier; aussi l’Union entend-elle se préoccuper des moyens spirituels et matériels nécessaires et appropriés à un tel objectif.

La prière

Par rapport à une entreprise aussi nécessaire qu’obligatoire du seul fait du précepte de l’amour, laquelle n’est d’aucune manière à la portée des forces humaines, assaillie de tant de difficultés et d’obstacles inimaginables, cette Société se voit obligée de prendre en compte la prière que le divin Sauveur nous a donnée comme moyen infaillible qui nous permet d’obtenir tout ce qui sert l’honneur de Dieu et le bien des âmes. Sans doute à la condition qu’on le fasse avec confiance et persévérance. Aussi la Société considérera-t-elle  comme tâche fondamentale et assurée d’efficacité, l’encouragement le plus grand possible à effectuer des prières humbles, confiantes et constantes, partout, dans toutes les couches du peuple et dans toutes les parties du monde et ce, dans le but d’obtenir tout don et tout moyen nécessaire et requis pour qu’il y ait au plus tôt un seul troupeau et un seul pasteur.”

La direction et l’enseignement

“De façon évidente, ceux qui peuvent acquérir le mérite de l’apostolat de Jésus-Christ sont les confesseurs, lesquels peuvent développer chez leurs jeunes pénitents des germes de vocation pour les missions étrangères: ces germes se trouvent souvent déjà chez les enfants dès leur tendre jeunesse. Cela vaut aussi pour tous ceux qui sont chargés de la direction,  fut-elle externe  de la jeunesse catholique dans les écoles, les collèges, les oratoires et les associations, s’ils s’efforcent dans la formation littéraire et religieuse des jeunes gens qui leur sont confiés, le plus possible avec tout le soin dont ils sont capables, par la paroles et la lecture de livres convenables, d’accroître de plus en plus le nombre des ouvriers de l’Évangile, nécessaires à la propagation de la foi.”

Autres armes essentielles : l’humilité et l’amour.

Pallotti écrit, en 1838, dans les Fondements Spirituels de la Société : “Seul celui qui est vraiment humble peut agir avec efficacité... Surtout, qu’on veuille bien se souvenir que dans une âme où manque la vraie humilité, il n’y a pas non plus d’amour vrai, car l’amour est d’autant plus parfait qu’il est humble. Oui, il serait le premier des orgueilleux celui qui croirait avoir pratiqué l’amour de façon héroïque... La charité exercée comme le décrit l’apôtre Paul, constitue l’élément fondamental de la Société.”

8

La Spiritualité de la Société de
l’Apostolat Catholique

8-1-La dévotion à la Sainte Vierge

“Voyez, frères, notre chère mère Marie. Sans prêcher, non seulement elle partage le mérite qui lui est commun avec les apôtres, mais elle est elle-même la Reine des Apôtres. C’est ainsi que l’Église de Jésus-Christ la salue comme Reine des Apôtres (car selon ses forces elle a contribué à répandre la foi sans prêcher, mais pour autant que cela a été possible à sa position et à sa situation). Comme elle s’y est adonnée avec une telle perfection qu’elle a, de loin, dépassé les Apôtres, Dieu qui lit dans les cœurs les intentions profondes de ses créatures, a élevé Marie à la dignité de Reine des Apôtres, parce qu’elle en était digne.
... La Société est fondée en l’honneur et sous la protection spéciale de la Reine des Apôtres, parce qu’elle doit être particulièrement bienvenue à notre commune Mère Marie et davantage encore, pour ressentir ainsi les effets de sa puissante protection...”

8-2-Marie parle à ses apôtres

Vicenzo Pallotti imagine les conseils que la Sainte Vierge pourrait donner à ses apôtres. Nous n’en retiendrons ici que quelques-uns. C’est Marie qui parle:
“Le Tout-Puissant m’a élevée à la dignité de Reine des Apôtres parce qu’avec sa grâce je me suis dépensée pour propager la foi.
Considérez, mes enfants, si les saints du ciel pouvaient revenir sur la terre, enflammés d’amour, ils travailleraient inlassablement au prix d’innombrables souffrances, à propager la foi dans le monde entier, dans l’intention d’annoncer au monde entier l’amour infini de Dieu pour les âmes, et avant tout, mon Fils Jésus...
Ô mes enfants, est-il possible que vous puissiez être insensibles devant le spectacle de tant d’âmes perdues pour l’éternité?... Faites tout ce que vous pouvez, maintenant et toujours, pour obtenir la diffusion de la foi dans le monde entier, afin de hâter le jour où il n’y aura plus qu’un seul pasteur et un seul troupeau...
Vous avez mon propre exemple. J’ai plus souffert pour les âmes que les martyrs...

8-3-L’humilité

Rien ne se fait dans les œuvres de Dieu sans une profonde humilité. Vincent Pallotti, le premier, a donné à ses frères l’exemple d’une profonde humilité. Et il faut, en toutes choses, faire confiance en la miséricorde de Dieu.
Vincent Pallotti écrit, concernant la grâce du 9 janvier 1835 :“Vous voyez, mon Dieu, mon ingratitude, ma négligence à en tirer parti (de la miséricorde de Dieu) mes péchés, mes crimes et mes infamies. Vous voyez comment, à un point tel que vous seul connaissez, je suis chaque jour davantage coupable et la cause de toutes les fautes passées, présentes et à venir jusqu’à la fin du monde... Mais vous déployez votre miséricorde sans borne en faisant connaître à toute créature, à jamais et à tout instant, ma méchanceté et votre miséricorde. Que cela soit pour moi une humiliation permanente et pour votre infinie miséricorde une glorification permanente.

8-4-Importance de la prière

Il est assez remarquable que, dans les textes de Vincent Pallotti, les expressions “ranimer la foi et raviver l’amour” reviennent constamment. C’est que Vincent Pallotti avait deux grands soucis: le salut de toutes les âmes et l’unité de l’Église. Ainsi on peut lire, parmi beaucoup d’autres, des phrases comme celles qui suivent:
            – Concernant l’amour
Qui ignore que nul n’obtient le salut éternel s’il n’observe pas les commandements de l’amour du prochain.
Cette société devra avoir pour fondement le commandement de l’amour, la reine de toutes les vertus et poursuivre le but de propager sur la terre entière le règne de l’Amour...
L’union ainsi conçue a pour unique objectif l’observation du commandement de l’amour.
L’acte le plus précieux de la miséricorde réside, en effet, dans le souci du salut des âmes.
Il faut que l’homme soit parfait dans l’amour de son prochain.

Dieu confie à chacun le souci  de son prochain. 
            – La prière
Pour l’Union, on considérera comme tâche fondamentale et assurée du succès, l’encouragement le plus vif possible à faire des prières humbles, confiantes et constantes, en vue de ranimer la foi parmi les catholiques et de raviver l’amour.
Prions, oui, prions sans relâche... pour que des missionnaires innombrables... s’en aillent répandre la foi sur toute la terre...
Priez le maître de la moisson d’envoyer des ouvriers à sa moisson.
            – La foi
Pour ranimer la foi et raviver l’amour, l’Union... cherchera à promouvoir les œuvres de la charité chrétienne...
Qui jette un regard religieux même furtif et rapide sur le monde de notre siècle, ne peut s’empêcher de reconnaître l’importance indicible de ranimer la foi et de raviver l’amour parmi les catholiques...

Quelques prières de Vincenzo Pallotti

Vincent Pallotti fut fasciné par Dieu, son Amour, sa présence parmi nous, particulièrement dans l’Eucharistie. L’adoration était devenue sa vie. On a dit de lui qu’“il respirait Dieu, toujours en paix, et le regard plongé en Dieu qui est présent partout.” Il n’hésitait pas à écrire à ses correspondants : “Cherchez Dieu, et vous Le trouverez. Cherchez-Le dans toutes choses et vous Le trouverez partout. Cherchez-Le à chaque moment, et vous Le trouverez toujours.”

La prière de Vincent Pallotti

Mystique habité par Dieu, Vincenzo, toujours dans le monde, prenait de plus en plus ses distances par rapport au monde. Souvent il répétait: “Vous êtes dans le monde, mais vous n’êtes pas du monde.” Les nombreuses prières qu’il rédigea le prouvent. En voici quelques-unes.
Dégagé des considérations humaines, il écrivit, dans un grand élan de détachement et d’humilité:

Dieu en tout et toujours

Mon Dieu ! Non pas l’intelligence, mais Dieu.
Non pas la volonté, mais Dieu. Non pas l’âme, mais Dieu.
Non pas la vision. mais Dieu. Non pas l’ouïe, mais Dieu.
Non pas l’odeur, mais Dieu. Non pas le goût ni la parole, mais Dieu.
Non pas la respiration,  mais Dieu. Non pas la sensation, mais Dieu.
Non pas le cœur, mais Dieu. Non pas le corps, mais Dieu.
Non pas l’air, mais Dieu.
Non pas la nourriture ni la boisson, mais Dieu.
Non pas le vêtement, mais Dieu.
Non pas les choses temporelles, mais Dieu.
Non pas la richesse, mais Dieu. Non pas les honneurs, mais Dieu.
Non pas les distinctions temporelles, mais Dieu.
Non pas les dignités, mais Dieu. Non pas les promotions, mais Dieu.
Dieu en tout et toujours.”
Jésus Christ était toujours au centre de la vie de Vincent : “Je Te donne mon âme, mes pensées, mes yeux, mes mains et ma langue. Que ma vie soit détruite, et que la vie de Jésus-Christ devienne ma vie. Que ma parole soit Sa parole. Que mon amour soit Son Amour.”

Répondre à l’amour de Dieu (Texte écrit en 1842)

“Mon Dieu, vous êtes l’amour infini et la miséricorde infinie, vous me pardonnerez si j’ose utiliser un mot hardi: vous êtes pour moi le fou de l’Amour et de la Miséricorde. Car à tout instant et toujours, de toute éternité, vous pensez à moi et vous répandez en moi des fleuves infinis de grâces, de faveurs, de dons et de miséricordes, ainsi que de tous vos attributs infinis qui sont tous divins, ô infinie miséricorde; Vous ne cessez de me nourrir Père, Fils et Esprit Saint et vous m’accueillez avec tout mon être, mon essence, avec votre propriété, avec votre action divine et tous vos attributs infinis.
Et vous me détruisez de plus en plus, vous m’annihilez en mon être pour me transformer en vous à chaque heure.
En moi, jour et nuit, vous accomplissez tous les gestes de votre amour et de votre miséricorde, que je veille ou que je dorme, que je mange ou que je boive, que je pense à vous ou que je vous oublie.
Même si je ne pense pas à vous, vous vous offrez pour moi, ô Jésus, sur tous les autels du monde, et sur tous les autels où vous demeurez dans le Saint Sacrement, vous m’attendez toujours, vous vous consumez au feu infini de l’amour pour vous donner à moi et toujours dans une plénitude infinie.
Ô mon Dieu, que dois-je faire pour répondre à votre amour ineffable et à votre miséricorde infinie?
Mon Dieu, je ne puis rien faire... Mais je vous offre toute la vie très sainte de Jésus-christ, celle de tous les anges et de tous les saints. Et louez-vous et bénissez-vous vous-même et rendez-vous grâces à vous-même!
Ô Trinité bienheureuse et très sainte, je vous offre votre propre vie éternelle, la vie de la très sainte Vierge Marie, celle de tous les anges et des saints. Pour combler mon manque, glorifiez-vous vous-même infiniment, à cause de l’amour de Jésus, de Marie, des anges et de tous les saints, et louez-vous et bénissez-vous vous même, et rendez-vous grâces à vous-même!
Et que sais-je? Vous, mon Dieu, vous êtes tout, tout, tout. Moi-même je ne suis rien, rien, rien...

Convertissez-moi vraiment

Mon Dieu, miséricorde infinie, j’ai le ferme espoir que, par votre miséricorde, c’est bien votre volonté de m’amener à une conversion vraie, généreuse, perpétuelle et de plus en plus parfaite.
Oui, il vous plaît de me voir atteindre cette conversion en vérité. Quel que soit celui qui vous demande ma conversion parfaite, décisive et déterminée, je suis assuré qu’il obtiendra de vous toute grâce spirituelle et temporelle servant à votre plus grande gloire et au bien des âmes...

Je voudrais répondre à l’amour

Ô mon Dieu... en dépit de mon inadmissible ingratitude, en dépit de toute une vie de résistance à vos grâces, vous ne cessez de penser à moi dans votre amour infini, et de m’aimer...
En raison de vos attributs infinis et de votre propriété et de votre être, vous répandez sur moi des signes infinis et des manifestations de votre bienveillance...pour détruire en moi toute mon ingratitude, et vous me transformez totalement en vous-même et en vos attributs divins...
Ô Miséricorde, ô prodige de tous les attributs infinis de Dieu... ô mon Dieu, je voudrais vous dire un mot... Mon Dieu, laissez-moi prononcer cette parole: “Je voudrais répondre à votre amour infini.”

Transformation dans le Christ

Mon Jésus, par la sainteté et la perfection de votre vie très sainte, détruisez toute déformation de ma vie.
Que votre vie très sainte soit ma vie!
Que toute ma vie soit détruite, et que la vie de mon Seigneur Jésus-Christ soit ma vie!

Divinisation trinitaire

Jésus tout-puissant et miséricordieux, détruisez toute ma vie!
Faites que toute votre vie et la vie trinitaire soient ma vie, une vision éternelle, une communication éternelle de l’Esprit-Saint!

Prières plus particulièrement destinées aux membres de la Société L’apostolat Catholique

Père éternel, nous vous prions, nous vos créatures tout à fait indignes. Dans votre miséricorde infinie vous avez daigné envoyer votre Fils unique pour racheter le genre humain... (Nous vous prions, Père éternel) afin que, le plus tôt possible, il n’y ait qu’un seul troupeau et un seul pasteur sur toute la terre, et que tous nous puissions chanter vos miséricordes divines dans le ciel et pour l’éternité. Assurément, pour conserver cette grâce que nous vous demandons, nous invitons toute la cour céleste à vous louer dans l’éternité, disant:
Gloire au Père, au Fils, au Saint-Esprit, maintenant et à jamais, pour les siècles des siècles. Amen!

Prières que les associés sont tenus de réciter plusieurs fois par jour

            1°Par les très saints mystères de la Rédemption des hommes, envoyez, Seigneur, des ouvriers à votre moisson, et épargnez votre peuple.
            2°Par les mérites et l’intercession de votre très sainte Mère et de tous les anges et les saints, envoyez, Seigneur, des ouvriers à votre moisson, et épargnez votre peuple.
            3°Vous, Reine des apôtres, et vous tous les anges et les saints, demandez au Maître de la moisson d’envoyer des ouvriers à sa moisson et qu’il épargne son peuple afin que tous nous puissions éternellement nous réjouir avec Lui et le Père et le Saint-Esprit. Amen!

Prière à Marie pour obtenir sa protection

Très aimable Vierge Marie, Mère de Miséricorde, Reine de tous les Anges et de tous les saints, notre espérance, notre intercesseur, fixez vos yeux miséricordieux sur notre communauté qui vous a appartenu dès le commencement.
Développez, parachevez et conservez-la dans l’avenir!
Qu’y règnent toujours la pauvreté,la chasteté et l’obéissance, l’esprit de prière, de l’amour, du renoncement et du sacrifice; Ô notre médiatrice, notre refuge, seul motif de notre espérance, protégez-la de tout mal et surtout de toute tiédeur. Obtenez-nous tout cela de votre Fils, Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ qui vit et règne avec le Père et le Saint-Esprit, d’éternité en éternité.

Prière pour obtenir des vocations

Seigneur Jésus-Christ, Toi qui fus obéissant jusqu’à la mort pour le salut des âmes, Toi qui as dit à tes apôtres : “Priez le Maître de la moisson d’envoyer des ouvriers à sa moisson,” aide-nous, nous T’en supplions, à réciter cette prière avec les sentiments que Tu avais quand Tu l’adressas à ton Père :
Christ, Sauveur des hommes
            Envoie des ouvriers à ta moisson
Christ, Espoir et salut de tous les hommes
            Envoie des ouvriers à ta moisson
Christ, Seigneur et Maître de tous les hommes
            Envoie des ouvriers à ta moisson
Christ, Voie et Vérité de tous les hommes
            Envoie des ouvriers à ta moisson
Christ, Messager de l’Évangile au monde entier
             Envoie des ouvriers à ta moisson
Christ, qui de tes apôtres, as fait des pêcheurs d’hommes
            Envoie des ouvriers à ta moisson
Christ, qui as voulu que tes disciples soient la lumière du monde
            Envoie des ouvriers à ta moisson
Christ, qui as envoyé dans tes vignes les ouvriers de la onzième heure
            Envoie des ouvriers à ta moisson
Christ, qui envoyais tes disciples où Tu devais Te rendre
            Envoie des ouvriers à ta moisson
Christ, qui les as envoyés annoncer l’Évangile au monde entier
            Envoie des ouvriers à ta moisson
Christ, qui fis de ta Mère Immaculée la Reine des Apôtres
            Envoie des ouvriers à ta moisson
Christ, par le mystère sacré de la Rédemption du monde, et par l’intercession de la Vierge Marie et de tous les saints, nous T’en supplions, donne le salut à tes serviteurs, et fais connaître ton Nom dans le monde entier.
Amen!

Chronologie de la vie de Vincenzo Pallotti

1795 
21 avril, naissance de Vincenzo Pallotti  à Rome
22 avril, Baptême
1804
Première communion
1811
Vincenzo reçoit les ordres mineurs
1816
Vincenzo commence la rédaction de son journal spirituel, appelé plus tard Lumi ou Illuminations.
1818
Ordination sacerdotale
1820
Début de ses activités de prédicateur
1827
Mort de sa mère
1827-1840
Vincenzo Pallotti assure la direction spirituelle au Séminaire Romain.
1832
31 décembre, grâce des épousailles spirituelles avec Marie.
1834-1837
Les débuts de la Société de l’Apostolat Catholique. En 1837, mort de son père.
1838
Dissolution de la Société de l’Apostolat Catholique, mais le pape Grégoire XVI autorise le maintien de la fondation.
1839
Début de la rédaction des Règles des saintes maisons
1843 à 1849
Vincent Pallotti est aumônier militaire. Il le restera jusqu’au 23 janvier 1849, date où lui et ses compagnons seront chassés de l’hôpital.
3 février 1849, proclamation de la République, à Rome.
1850 
22 janvier mort de Vincenzo Pallotti atteint d’une pleurésie
1950
22 janvier, béatification par le pape Pie XII
1963
20 janvier, canonisation par le pape Jean XXIII


[1] Les textes des paragraphes qui suivent ont été écrits en 1846.

[2] Il ne faut pas oublier que ce texte a été écrit en 1838!.

[3] Ces deux textes sont extraits des Statuts principaux de l’Apostolat Catholique. (Textes écrits vers 1838).

[4] Certains saints ont parfois, sur les femmes, des opinions, exprimées ou sous-entendues, qui  peuvent hérisser des gens du XXIe siècle. Il aurait peut-être été utile que, de temps en temps, ils aient vécu ce que leurs contemporaines, surtout des milieux modestes, avaient eu à supporter.

[5] Déclaration de l’Union. Texte d’avril ou mai 1835
SOURCE : http://nouvl.evangelisation.free.fr/vincent_pallotti_1.htm



Vincent Pallotti, Priest (RM)

Born in Rome, Italy, April 21, 1795; died January 22, 1850; canonized in 1963 by Pope John XXIII during Vatican Council II; feast day formerly on January 23. Vincent was the son of a prosperous grocer. His schoolmaster Don Ferri said of him, "He's a little saint but a bit thick-headed." He grew more proficient at his studies as he matured, however, and he was ordained at 23 (1817). He took a doctorate in theology and became an assistant professor at the Spaienza in Rome.



He was encouraged by his friendship with Saint Caspar del Bufalo to resign his post and pursue pastoral work. He was popular as a confessor, and acted in this capacity at several Roman colleges, including the Scots, the Irish, and the English. Unfortunately, he was disliked by the other clergy at the Neapolitan church to which he was appointed, and their malicious treatment of him inexplicably passed without comment from the authorities for ten years, and without complaint on his part.

Anticipating the teaching of Vatican II on an apostolic role for all Christians, in 1835, Vincent gathered together a group of clergy, nuns and other laymen, committed to conversion and social justice, in order to organize vocational schools with evening classes for poor boys, and an institute to teach better agricultural methods. The schools were intended to teach young people marketable skills such as shoe-making, tailoring, joining, and agriculture, and to instill in them a pride in their work. He worked from the premise that holiness is to be found not only in a religious life of prayer and silence, but also by filling any need in any part of life wherever one sees it. These policies resembled those of Saint John Bosco, who worked in northern Italy (Turin).

From this group would evolve the Pallotines, or the Society of Catholic Apostolate (called for a time the Pious Society of Missions and later the Society of Catholic Action), which had only a dozen members during his lifetime but has since grown and a corresponding society of women, the Pallottini Sisters, was established in 1843. The congregation has flourished in Italy, Brazil, Australia, and the United States, where it has specialized in care for the immigrants and, like their founder, in promoting ecumenical contacts with Eastern Orthodox Christians.

He wrote to a young professor, "You are not cut out for the silence and austerities of Trappists and hermits. Be holy in the world, in your social relationships, in your work and your leisure, in your teaching duties and your contacts with publicans and sinners. Holiness is simply to do God's will, always and everywhere."

Vincent's apostolic labors were matched only by his austerities, and in 1837, during an epidemic of cholera, he cared for others despite the danger to himself. He went to great lengths to fulfill the spiritual needs of the people, once even impersonating an old woman in order to approach a bedridden man who had warned he would shoot any priest who came near him. Vincent also performed exorcisms.

In 1836, he started the special observance of the Octave of Epiphany for the reunion of the Eastern Orthodox Church with Rome. Each day he would celebrate the Mysteries with a different rite; since 1847, this custom has been observed in the church of Sant'Andrea delle Valle.

In 1844, don Pallotti sent one of his most trusted priests to minister to the Italians in London, and since then his society has spread throughout the world. He was also especially interested in the English mission and had numerous English, Irish, and American friends. One of them, Walter Tempest, was with him when he was given shelter at the Irish College in Rome in 1849.

The people of Rome saw don Vincent as a 19th century version of Saint Philip Neri. Often he came home half-naked because he had given his clothes away. He would go to great lengths to reconcile sinners. Once he dressed up as an old woman in order to get to the bedside of a man who seriously threatened to shoot the first priest to come near him. Pallotti was in demand as an exorcist. God also granted him the gifts of supernatural knowledge and healing. Father Pallotti died of pleurisy at the age of 55.

It is interesting to note that when evidence was given during his beatification process, the vice rector of the Neapolitan church in Rome, who had been one of his severest persecutors, said: "Don Pallotti never gave the least grounds for the ill-treatment to which he was subjected. He always treated me with the greatest respect; he bared his head when he spoke to me, he even several times tried to kiss my hand." (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Walsh, White). 

SOURCE : http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/0122.shtml


Tombeau de saint Vincent Pallotti à l'Église San Salvatore in Onda de Rome


Venerable Vincent Mary Pallotti

The founder of the Pious Society of Missions, born at Rome, 21 April, 1798 [other sources say 1785 --Ed.]; died there, 22 Jan., 1850. He lies buried in the church of San Salvatore in Onda. 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, whence he passed to the Roman College. At the age of sixteen, he resolved to become a secular priest, and on 16 May, 1820, he was ordained. He celebrated his first Mass in the church of the Gesù in Frascati. On 25 July he became a Doctor of Theology, and was soon made a substitute professor of theology in the Roman Archigymnasium. He gave promise of being a distinguished theologian, but decided to dedicate himself entirely to pastoral work.

Rome had in him a second Philip Neri. Hearing confessions and preaching were his constant occupations. From morning until night he could be seen hurrying along the streets of Rome to assist at the bedside of the sick in the hospitals, to bring aid and comfort to the poor in their miserable dwellings, or to preach to the unfortunates in prison. Once he went so far as to disguise himself as an old woman in order to reach the bedside of a dying young man, who had a pistol under his pillow ready to kill the first priest who should approach him. During the cholera plague in 1837, Pallotti constantly endangered his life in ministering to the stricken. After a day spent in apostolic labour he was accustomed to pass almost the whole night in prayer, disciplining himself even to blood, and sleeping for a few hours on a chair or on the bare floor. The most distinguished representatives of the Roman aristocracy, bishops, cardinals, and even Popes Gregory XVI and Pius IX honoured him, but the only advantage he took of their friendship was to advocate the claims of the poor. Even as a young man, he often returned home barefooted, after having given away half his clothing in alms; and more than once was he known to have given away his bed to the needy. Leo XIII, who spoke from his personal observations, said he would not hesitate to consider him a saint. Shortly after his death the preparatory examinations for his beatification began; in 1887 he was declared Venerable. [He was canonized in 1962 --Ed.]

It was Venerable Pallotti who started in 1836 the special observance at Rome of the Octave of the Epiphany. Since then the celebration has been faithfully maintained. Pallotti's chief desire was to make this observance a means of uniting the dissenting Oriental Churches with Rome.

Sources

MELLIA, Vincent Pallotti (London); there is a biography in Italian by ORLANDE (Rome), and in German by the PALLOTTI FATHERS (Limburg).

Vogel, John. "Venerable Vincent Mary Pallotti." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 24 Jan. 2016 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11429a.htm>.


SOURCE : http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11429a.htm



Apostle of the Infinite: The Life of Saint Vincent Pallotti

by Brother André Marie September 1, 2007

Nineteenth century Rome was not the uneventful place one may imagine. Rome of the 1800s saw Mazzini, Garibaldi, and their Masonic cohorts dare to assault the Vicar of Christ and send him into exile. It saw fickle mobs capable of murdering priests and desecrating Churches, and heard such slogans as “Death to the Jesuits!” and “Down with the Pope!” shouted in the streets.
Public life in Rome was becoming such that everything was stained with this anti-ecclesiastical attitude. Of the institutions and customs open to particular infection from this disease, perhaps none was more susceptible, by nature, than the infamous Carnival. The Roman Carnival had long been a problem because of the excesses of the excited revelers. What should have been an innocent “farewell to meat”1 in anticipation of the rigors of Lent, had become the occasion for immoderate indulgence and profligacy.
In the midst of the Carnival of 1835 there walked about the Corso, in the midst of the revelry, a priest with his trusty but timid lay side-kick. Giacomo Salvati, the side-kick, had his apprehensions about what he was doing that day with his spiritual mentor. Sure, he was a saint; sure, he was a miracle worker and had proven his divine election many times before, but this was ridiculous . The two of them hardly fit the scene: Everybody else was colorfully dressed; they donned somber black. Everyone else was making merry; they were trying to keep in the presence of God. Salvati knew that his mentor hated such impure festivity, so what were they doing amid all this sinful reveling?
The two men approached the center of the gaity and their mission commenced in earnest. The priest, small of stature, slightly built, with big blue eyes and penetrating glance was saddened at the sight. The Eternal City, whose Faith “is spoken of in the whole world”2 was acting like a reprobate! Drunkenness and impurity were interspersed with insults hurled at the Pope and his militia. The melancholy brow of the saintly priest took on an even sadder aspect. But this was no time for staring; Salvati had to keep up with his master darting from person to person, handing out small pieces of paper. The merry-makers were confused. Some thought that perhaps the two were part of the festivity and were adding to the general hilarity; others took advantage of their clerical visitor to insult the Church. But no matter their initial reaction, when they read the hand-bills they were given, they all felt the same splash of cold water on their drunken faces:
“life is short and death comes quickly.” “death strikes even at play.” “one mortal sin merits damnation.”
Rome had its wake-up call. Like the priestly Phinees of old, Don Vincenzo Pallotti went into the place of iniquity to destroy sin and evil, and to remove the curse from God’s chosen people.3
The life of this apostolic man is the story of an active apostle constantly engaged in missionary labors, but who was also a mystic, enjoying the ecstatic heights of contemplation and suffering the most frightening spiritual deserts known as “dark nights of the soul.”
From His Youth
“It is good for a man when he hath borne the yoke from his youth.”4 There are saints who were great converts from a life of iniquity, like Sts. Paul, Augustine, Camillus, or Ignatius of Loyola; and there are saints who were conspicuous for following the counsel of Jeremias, bearing the light yoke of Christ from their very youth, never throwing it off by sin. In this latter category belong saints like Gerard Magella, Gertrude the Great, Thérèse and Thomas Aquinas. St. Vincent Pallotti belongs decidedly in the latter category. His confessor, Fr. Fazzini, declared that he never committed even one venial sin!
Vincent Pallotti was born on the anniversary of the founding of Rome — April 21, 1795, at 11:15 AM. On the day following, he was reborn, at the baptismal font of San Lorenzo in Damaso, a parish in Rome’s most densely populated quarter. His parents were Pietro Paulo Pallotti, a noble man of Umbrian descent, being born near the same Cascia that St. Rita made famous; and Maria Maddelena de Rossi, a Roman woman of exemplary piety.
The Pallotti family produced a number of vocations, including five who became cardinals of the Roman Church.5 Both Pietro Paulo and Maria Maddelena were devout Catholics who wished to bring up good Catholic children, a wish that God gave them ample opportunity to act out, for He blessed them with ten children.
Other than a few recollections of them that St. Vincent passed on, whatever treasures this exemplary Catholic couple stored up in heaven will remain, for the most part, the secret of the King‡ until the Day of Judgment. But their son’s virtues and the interior workings of God’s grace in his soul became so manifest that he is canonized by the Church and publicly held up for imitation, his incorrupt body still bearing witness to his immortality in heaven.
If the above claim of Pallotti’s exemplary childhood sanctity seems exaggerated to the reader, he is asked to review the following facts: At age four, little Vincent’s mother witnessed him stray from her side to kneel in front of a statue of the Blessed Virgin, Whom he told “Dear Mother, make me a good boy!” In succeeding years, he became so reputed for his virtue that he earned the name, Il Santerello (“the Little Saint”). Children who played with Vincent found themselves instructed in the catechism and in praying the Rosary by their friend. He gave away his shoes, his clothing, his food, and even his bed to the poor, always doing so out of a spirit of Christian charity. With the bed gone, sleeping on the floor satisfied his youthful passion for asceticism, a passion which grew stronger, so that at fifteen years of age, he had acquired the habit of scourging himself to the point of drawing blood.7 To Maria Maddelana’s protestations against these excesses, Vincenzo’s confessor replied, “Leave him alone, leave him alone; the Spirit of God is working in him.”
Perhaps the one dark spot on his early years was his apparent lack of academic aptitude in the Piarist8 school he attended, San Pantaleo. The Fathers thought it a pity that such a pious boy should be so dim. But a triumph of supernatural light over natural darkness was occasioned by this state of affairs. A novena to the Holy Ghost instantly settled the problem, so much so that his teachers were overwhelmed at the change in dull little Vincenzo.
Fr. Fazzini will provide us with a summary of the early sanctity of our subject: “He was a saint from childhood.”
The Roman College
In 1807, Vincenzo left the Piarist school to pursue higher studies. He attended the Collegio Romano (Roman College), which was more like an advanced high school than it was a college in the American sense. Founded by St. Ignatius and counting among its alumni Sts. Aloysius Gonzaga, John Berchmans, Camillus de Lellis, and Leonardo a Porto Maurizio, this school had a glorious Jesuit history that made it a landmark of the Counter Reformation. However, due to Masonically engineered suppression of the Jesuits in 1773 by Pope Clement XIV, the College had fallen on hard times and was only a shadow of its former self when Vincent took classes there. He studied grammar, rhetoric, and the Latin classics at the Collegio. He became particularly adept at composing verse in Latin, and won at least one prize for this art. But this prize went where all his other academic awards had always gone, to an image of our Lady as a votive offering. His humility about his awards and outstanding academic achievement was such that Vincenzo’s own father had to hear the news of his son’s accomplishments from third parties.
Amidst the mental discipline of declining nouns, conjugating verbs, and parsing participles in Cicero, Ovid, and Virgil, the boy lost not a bit of his piety. The Collegio had been criticized for its overemphasis of the pagan classics, but all this seems to have left on Vincent is a fantastic aptitude in the Latin language.
Not surprisingly, his piety drew him to a religious vocation. The particular avenue that most attracted the scholastic was the Capuchin Order, the Counter Reformation branch of the Franciscans.9 But the difficult life of a Capuchin Friar was seen as an impossibility for the frail boy and Fr. Fazzini told him that he would do better to aim for the secular priesthood. Vincent obeyed, but he joined the Third Order of St. Francis, and thus was a member of the Franciscan family, while not being a friar.10 In addition, he wore the rough habit of a Capuchin Friar every night as he slept, something he did on the floor with a marble slab as a pillow.
Now that St. Vincent had a target to aim for — the secular priesthood — he took careful aim.
Abate Pallotti
At the tender age of 16, Vincenzo entered the ranks of the clergy. After a spiritual retreat at the Lazarist mission house, he was given the clerical tonsure on Easter Monday, April 15, 1811. This entitled him to wear the religious garb and to the title Abate . But the clerical garb had to wait three more years to be donned, for during the Napoleonic occupation of Rome, clerical garb was strictly forbidden among the young clergy. On May 26 Vincent was ordained to the four Minor Orders: Porter, Lector, Exorcist, and Acolyte.
The teenage cleric soon became active in a number of confraternities, including the “Confraternity of Christian Doctrine” which was a program for catechists. Abate Pallotti, who already had practical experience teaching his playmates, was now a religious instructor with the official sanction of the Church.
The University
1814 was a year of change both for Pallotti, and for Rome. May 24 of that year saw the Roman Pontiff, Pius VII restored to the city whence the pompous scoundrel Napoleon had driven him five years earlier. Autumn of this year was the commencement of Abate Pallotti’s career at the Universita della Sapienza.
Otherwise known as the University of Rome, the Sapienza was a University along the lines of such European institutions as the Universities of Paris, Bologna, or Toledo. It was not a seminary, but had various courses of study, each with its own faculty. The theology school formed the academic part of a seminary training, but the remaining spiritual formation for future priests was left in the hands of the diocesan officials (for secular priests) or the religious orders (for religious priests). During much of his seminary years, Vincenzo went to a sort of weekend formation house. All the while, he lived at home with his parents.
The academic course he took at the University lasted four years in all. During this time, he continued to prove himself a top-notch student. His studies included philosophy, theology, canon law, Holy Scripture, Church History, and Greek. Included in the training were disputations in which the students would debate one another under the supervision of their professors. In this art, Vincenzo achieved a high enough degree of mastery to merit this encomium from his professor of Church History: “In our year-long course he has always distinguished himself in such a way that in every disputation, whether he argued for or against the topic, he stood the test in the most excellent manner, according to our own judgment, and that of other listeners.” The same professor commented on his student’s sanctity, that he “has given to all an example of virtue and piety which is most worthy of a clergyman.”
Vincent’s zeal for orthodoxy — without which sanctity is utterly impossible — was manifested during his University career in a paper he wrote against one Bodinus. It seems that this individual, some sort of critical exegete, had cast doubt upon the truth of the census that brought our Lady and St. Joseph to Bethlehem, so that the prophesy of Micheas11 could be fulfilled in Jesus’ Birth. In the Disputatio Contra Bodinum , Vincent wrote, “May therefore the profligate Bodinus become silent. May his teaching be corrected most vigorously and his paper be delivered to the fire by the beadle. He himself should let truth inspire him a little and duly respect divine revelation together with all true believers.” Seminarians today, in this age of effeminacy, would probably find themselves ex-seminarians very quickly, for writing so virulently.
During this time, an extraordinary event occurred in the streets of Rome. In 1816, Vincent met a young man, two or three years his elder, who walked rather sadly down the street. His name was Giammaria Mastai-Ferretti, and he was a nobleman. His problem was that, although initially approved to enter the Swiss Guards — a position he greatly coveted — he was struck with epilepsy, and was refused admittance into the Pope’s elite corps. When the sympathetic Pallotti asked the nobleman what troubled him, Giammaria explained his plight. To this, Vincenzo responded, “Set your mind at ease. You will not stand on guard, but you will be guarded.” Mastai-Ferretti went on to become a priest, bishop, cardinal, and, in 1846, was elected Pope of the Church of Rome, taking the name Pius IX.
On September 21 of 1816, Vincenzo received the first of the Major Orders, the subdiaconate. The following year, on November 20, he was ordained a deacon. Priestly ordination was just around the corner, but before ordination, he had to complete one more year of studies. Thus, in July of 1818, upon completion of his course of studies at the University, the deacon received a doctorate in Philosophy and one in Theology. His academic formation was formally finished (although it must be said that he continued to be a student his whole life by ever finding time for studying Scripture and the other sacred sciences). Upon reception of his degree, he was entitled to be called “Dottore Pallotti,” but in his customary humility he did not suffer himself to be so called, and even hid his degrees from his parents.12
Priesthood
“How great is the dignity of the priesthood! What a dignity, what a dignity!… To be a priest! What does that mean? O God, my God, I do not understand it! What does it mean to present the holy, bloodless sacrifice and to administer the sacraments!” These are the words of Vincent, written to St. Gaspar del Bufalo, the founder of the Society for the Precious Blood, with whom Vincenzo contracted a deep spiritual friendship. The words were written ten days after his own ordination, which occurred on May 16, 1818, in the Lateran Basilica. Abate Pallotti is now Don Vincenzo, a priest of the diocese of Rome.13
The next sixteen years of Don Vincenzo’s life were a frenzy of priestly activity. Surprisingly, however, though he was a secular priest attached to the Roman Diocese, he wasn’t a “parish priest” in the ordinary sense, because he had no parish to call his own. In fact, he didn’t even live in a rectory or religious house; until 1834 he remained in his family home on 130 Via del Pellegrino.
The young priest who lived with Mamma and Pappa Pallotti was seen in and around the City and its environs tending to a host of apostolic labors. In the midst of these good works he became acquainted with other dedicated individuals and forged lasting ties. But before we tread the path of Vincent’s apostolic footsteps, and before we are introduced to his holy friends, we would do well to comment briefly on his internal spiritual character, for he was a mystic, as we have said.
As a person versed in piety from his youth, the future apostle well knew that, “Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.”14 An interior life is a prerequisite for anyone attempting to enter into the divine service. Without a life of devotion, of prayer, and of internal communion with the Blessed Trinity, the religious and apostolic life is not the dress rehearsal for Heaven it was meant to be by its Author but, instead, an arduous path to hell.
From at least the time of his ordination, St. Vincent kept a spiritual diary for the benefit of himself and his confessor. The diary contains St. Vincent’s resolutions, meditations, and prayers. It has been compared to the type of spirituality of the Carmelite mystics like St. John of the Cross. The Carmelite ascetic doctrine of Nada , which is an extreme form of detachment from everything that is not God, is all over the writings of St. Vincent, whether or not he himself learned it from the Church’s Doctor of Mystical Theology.15 St. Vincent constantly calls himself “nothing and sin” and regards God as the “Infinite.”
Biographers can go on page after page trying to describe the interior life of a saint. For us non-mystics, these accounts sometimes read like tourist guides to very strange foreign cities; or better yet, like intricate descriptions of how some exotic Oriental dish tastes, when our idea of gourmet is a hot dog with brown mustard instead of just yellow . In order to spare the reader this torture, we will be sparing in our treatment of this subject.
Some of the attributes of the saints we call mystics are: an intense and constant awareness of the Presence of God, accompanied by a deep detestation of sin, utter contempt of self, and a sincere desire to be despised for the sake of Christ. Because of their awe of the divine majesty, these saints at some point in their growth in sanctity are seized with terror in the Face of God, as St. Peter was when he cried out, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.16 These experiences were all part of the interior life of St. Vincent during his early priesthood. This terror in the presence of God took hold of him particularly while on retreat at Camaldoli and made him write, “I wish the entire world, or indeed, infinitely many worlds, would recognize my wretchedness so that they would be moved to pity and incessantly implore the Lord with prayers for my sake.”17
In the Vineyard
During the years between his ordination and the founding of his religious congregation, St. Vincent was a very busy man. Here is a partial list of his activities in those years: He was a seminary professor, a retreat master, confessor to at least two convents of nuns, and spiritual director to most Roman seminarians; he was a widely demanded exorcist, founder of youth institutes, founder of the first night schools in Rome (for the children of craftsmen and farmers); a friend and benefactor of orphan girls and babies who found refuge in the “Pious Houses” he founded; preacher in Roman Churches and public squares; author of small books on prayer and devotion; apostle of the poor, the sick, and the military; and the great reviver of the practice of the Marian “Month of May.”
In these years, he also made some associations with various persons, priests, religious, and lay, who would later form, with him, the Society of the Catholic Apostolate. And during this time, he became conspicuous for working miracles.
The hospice of San Galla, a refuge for homeless men, was one outlet for the young priest’s charity. There he tended to the bodily and spiritual hunger of the poor homeless by feeding them and giving them religious instruction. He was brought into contact in this work with St. Gaspar Del Bufalo (already mentioned), St. Vincent Mary Strambi, the Passionist priest18 , Giammaria Mastai-Feretti (the future Pius IX), and at least two future Cardinals.
An organization that grew out of the work of San Galla was the Unio Antidaemoniaca (“Alliance against the Devil”). The Alliance worked to destroy sin by removing dangerous occasions of sin which presented themselves in the decadent art of the day. Members would destroy immodest art pieces, or take a chisel to the offensive parts of them. Because they were sensitive to the financial needs of shop keepers and others who made their living by selling such objects, they would often raise funds to buy the offensive art before they destroyed it. (Vincent’s Mass stipends sometimes provided the funds.) Included in the membership were artists who would “fix” art pieces in need of such attention.
It must not be concluded that St. Vincent was a Philistine when it came to art and artistry. In fact, he was a patron of the arts, hiring artists to paint holy images to be sent to the missions. But his zeal for God’s justice made him see through that shallow pretension which hides all manner of decadence and iniquity: “But it’s art…”19
The Unio was one of St. Vincent’s extracurricular activities. His main occupation for the years 1819 to 1829 was that of a seminary professor. Cristaldi, the Rector of the Sapienza, asked him to be a Proffessore Supplente of the College. This gave him the task of giving daily instructions to the seminarians, summarizing the lectures of the main professors. He was, in reality, a tutor. Another part of his work as Professore Supplente was to direct the disputations and dissertations of the students.
The students found in their professor a good theologian and a model cleric. Although he is thought of more as a “devotional saint” than a “theologian saint,” he did enjoy the reputation of being well studied in his science. Moreover, his example was remembered long afterward by the students.
In the thirty-third year of his age, St. Vincent was assigned to a post which would not normally be entrusted to such a young priest. He was made confessor and spiritual director of the Roman seminary. The obligations of this office he fulfilled by daily walking to the seminary to hear confessions and give counsel to the seminarians. Even in the summer months, when the students were in the Villa Parioli (a two hour walk!), their confessor was there twice a week to serve their spiritual needs.
The influence Pallotti had on the seminarians was appreciated all around. He gained the reputation of a saint by giving sound direction, keeping the seminarians in the fear of God, showing them the example of mortification and prayer, and settling disputes that came up. This reputation was not limited to the seminarians; eventually, Vincent’s presence in the seminary confessional was taken as an open invitation for the neighbors to avail themselves of his services. This they did in droves, so much so that the seminary rector had to intervene to cut off the flow of penitents. It was not unheard of for the confessor to spend all day in the confessional.
The eventual growth of his other activities would cut down Vincent’s trips to the seminary from daily ones to bi-weekly ones, but these he made faithfully and at great sacrifice.
Sacrifice and mortification were a part of St. Vincent’s life as eating and breathing are to most people’s. Perhaps this is a good time to mention one hidden penance performed by the saint, since we have just mentioned his long walks to and from the seminary. Father Pallotti walked everywhere. Only when there was an emergency or when he was gravely ill could he be induced to take a carriage. So many of the famous stories in his life involve his presence in the street — being summoned by someone running from a house, finding a dying person and hearing his confession, etc. — that one pictures him walking all day in Rome. What was discovered after the saint’s death was that one of his toenails was severely ingrown. He did nothing to have it corrected and apparently never complained about the horrible pain it must have caused. Vincent wished to offer to the Infinite God “infinite penance.” His poor toe was just one victim of his generosity.
His appetite for food was another. When his mother induced him to eat more, she did the best she could by citing the Gospels. “Vincent, the Bible says, ‘Eat what is placed before you,’” she said. But her son retorted, “But it doesn’t say to eat everything .” Speaking to Vincent’s doctor, someone commented that the priest fasted forty days a year. The doctor replied, “Oh, more than that. He eats so little that he is really fasting every day of the year.”
Miracles
The extraordinary phenomena that have accompanied the lives of many of the great saints were witnessed in St. Vincent. One of these was the cure of the daughter of Giacomo Salvati, the man mentioned in the beginning of this article. Salvati’s wife was surprised one day to see an unrecognized priest walk into her shop one day and ask, “Have you called me?” She replied that she had not and asked him who he was. “I am Abate Palloti,”20 he said. She then asked him if he would see her daughter who was upstairs, suffering from a condition diagnosed as terminal. Without having even seen the girl, he replied, “I shall go upstairs, but have no fear, your daughter is feeling better.” Shortly thereafter, the girl was found to be in perfect health.
As early as 1830, Don Vincenzo had earned the reputation of a miracle worker. It was around that time when he visited the sick bed of a dying woman who was to receive the last sacraments. Lucia Fabiani was preparing to enter eternity as St. Vincent visited her. After several prayers and a few encouraging words aimed at stirring up the woman’s piety and trust in God and our Lady, he left. Barely was the priest gone when the woman reported to her husband, “I am healthy.” When the doctor came to check up on her, he exclaimed, “Don Vincenzo must have been here!” The doctor had not been told of the priest’s visit.
Another miracle from his early priesthood happened in the confessional. While hearing the confession of one of his regular penitents, a carpenter named Giuseppe Marcozzi, Don Vincenzo seemed to have fallen asleep for four or five minutes. Two holy pictures he used to carry around with him fell on the floor of the confessional. Marcozzi picked up the pictures, kissed them, and called several times to his confessor. When the confessor came to his senses, he heaved a sigh of relief and told Marcozzi, “Let us thank God, the Pope has been elected!” “Who is it?” asked the curious penitent. “Capellari,” came the response. Right after his confession, the carpenter went to the Church of Santa Maria della Pace to attend Candelmas services and receive Holy Communion. Just after he arrived, the sound of a canon was heard in the distance, making people wonder what occasioned the signal. “The Pope has been elected!” he informed the curious people, revealing the name of Cardinal Capellari.
Nobody had yet heard the news; but, true to the confessor’s words, the relatively unknown Camoldolese monk, Bartolomeo Capellari, was elected, taking the name Gregory XVI.
The “Little Madonna”
To say that St. Vincent was “Marian” in his piety would be an understatement. Like all true children of the Church, he showed a tender devotion for our Lady, but more than that, he was consumed with love for the Mother of God. His favorite titles of our Blessed Lady were “Mother of Divine Love” and “Queen of Apostles.” He said of Her, “I shall not rest until I, if this is possible, have achieved an infinitely tender love for my much beloved and much loving mother, Mary.”
In his interior life, he fulfilled St. Paul’s injunction to “pray always,” as well as the Apostle’s affirmation that “our conversation is in heaven.” The Three Divine Persons and the members of the heavenly court were those with whom he held familiar converse. The Queen of that court received special homage. While leaving his room, he would always look at an image of our Lady and say, “Bless me, my Mother.” Whenever summoned to someone’s deathbed, he first knelt down to say the Litany of our Lady (the Litany of Loreto).
St. Vincent’s Marian devotion is memorialized in much of the religious art that depicts him. Like St. Benedict’s raven, St. Laurence’s gridiron, and St. Lucy’s eyes, there is a Pallottian symbol which will be an instant “give away” as to whether the priest in the statue is St. Vincent or someone else. It is the “Little Madonna.” The image is the Mother of Divine Love, our Lady seated, with our Lord standing on a pillow which rests on Her lap. Vincenzo had this image painted on ivory and mounted on a silver reliquary box. He very cleverly had it fastened to his wrist on a chain and, with apparently admirable dexterity, was able to produce it from his cassock sleeve faster than any Roman could kiss his hand. The respectful practice of kissing the hand of the priest — something Don Vincenzo did himself to other priests — was too offensive to the humble sentiments of that man who constantly called himself “nothing and sin.” So when anyone would attempt to reverence the priest’s hand, he would quickly find himself kissing the Madonna instead.
Our Lady rewarded her faithful son for his devotion. In a spiritual phenomenon known as “Mystical Espousals,” St. Vincent became united to our Lady in a way which only a privileged few Saints21 have experienced, but which is not unknown in mystical theology. St. Vincent’s German biographer, Fr. Eugene Weber, S.A.C. describes the phenomenon as follows: “Basically, it is the complete fulfillment of his relationship to the Mother of Christ which has already been initiated in his Christian soul at the time of his baptism…. Wherever this relationship attains its complete development through constant heroic faithfulness, the soul is deigned worthy of entering into a state of the most intimate union with the Mother of the Lord. This state is often bound up with a vivid awareness of her presence… The soul then becomes alive to the instruction, guidance and blessed influence of Mary, either occasionally or at all times. A mutual love arises which cannot deny anything and wants to grant everything. Above all, the Mother of God is able to carry out without hindrance the formation of Her Son’s image and life in the soul through the Holy Spirit.”
Tortured and Beaten
The years 1834-35 are landmarks in the life of St. Vincent. In 1834, he took a parish assignment at the Church of Spirito Santo, the Neapolitan National Church located in a poor section of the city on the Via Giulia, not far from the Tiber. 1835 was the founding year of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate, the religious congregation and lay movement which would carry on Don Vincenzo’s work after he took his flight to heaven.
The coinciding of his assignment at Spirito Santo with his founding of the Society seemed to be something written in an eternal decree. It sometimes happens that God reserves the worst chastisements of his faithful servants for the eve of their greatest accomplishments. This fact is brought clearly in the life of the Apostle St. Paul, who preached Christian liberty most effectively when he himself was a prisoner. When St. Vincent was appointed Rector (superior of the house) over five undisciplined, insubordinate, and ill-willed Neapolitan priests, he was presented with a treasure of meritorious suffering which would bear fruit for the work of his apostolate.
A life of a Saint is supposed to be something edifying, informing the intellect of good things, and moving the will to the love of God, Who “gave such power to men.”22 To recount the evils done to St. Vincent by these unworthy priests would only fit into that agenda if the admirable patience of the saint were made the focus, not the wickedness of his underlings. For one thing, these Neopolitans were very nationalistic, and probably should not have had a Roman as their superior anyway. They were also jealous of St. Vincent’s priestly zeal, for during his rectorship of the Church, the shamefully demoralized state of the parish was renewed and Spirito Santo became a center of devotion and religious fervor. Their disdain for St. Vincent showed itself in a variety of uncharitable acts on their part, including hiding things on him in the sacristy (like the tabernacle key and hosts for Mass!), removing his confessional, so that he had to go elsewhere to confess his legion of penitents, going to great trouble to make sure he had dirty altar linens and candles that would burn out in the middle of Mass. In addition, they constantly complained about him to ecclesiastical superiors and did everything they could to destroy his apostolate by preventing the Society from having meetings in the parish.
It can be said that he deserved this treatment. Why? The answer is simple. “Ask and you shall receive.”25 In the beginning of 1835, before he took his post at Spirito Santo26 and before the Society was founded, he offered a prayer which is recorded in his notes. Among other things, he asked “that some be found among Your creatures who, in accordance with Your spirit, despise, beat, torture, and humble me so that I may bridle my evil passions, especially my pride. Permit that all creatures even chafe, beat and humble me at all times for Your glory and my deserved shame…” He said this prayer because he felt called to begin a great work, and wished to be purified by the purgatorial fires of suffering so that the work would be blessed.
One last note on the Neapolitan priests will do before we proceed. In all of his trials he let not a word of complaint come from his lips. This author was told a story about the saint from a devotee, a story he has not been able to verify in any book, but one which certainly captures the spirit of Don Pallotti. When one of these Neapolitans was asked to testify during Pallotti’s process of beatification, he was asked if the servant of God ever returned evil for evil. The reply was, “No, but he used to kiss my hand whenever he could.”
The Universal Apostolate
In his notes of 1835, St. Vincent describes the work that he felt called to commence. “My God… allow me… to promote, establish, propagate, perfect, and perpetuate the pious institution of a universal apostolate for all Catholics, in order to propagate the faith and religion of Jesus Christ among all infidels and non-Catholics; another apostolate to revive, conserve and increase the faith among Catholics; and an institution of universal charity in the practice of all the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, so that You may be known in the world by a reflection of Your infinite charity.” This was the spark which would soon ignite into the Society for the Catholic Apostolate.
What kindled the spark into a fire was a need brought to the attention of Don Vincenzo to help Oriental Catholics who were in a sad state of affairs.
Years before he had made the acquaintance of Tomasso Alkuschi,27 who told him of the pitiful state of the Catholics of Persia, whose schismatic Nestorian compatriots mocked them for not even having a church for services. At that time, Don Vincenzo sent out a letter to the whole Catholic world, encouraging them to give generously, especially if they loved our Lady, because the defeat of Nestorianism would be a victory for our Lady.28 The earlier efforts had borne fruit, but now something more could be done. A missionary in the Middle East sent a request for ten thousand copies of St. Alphonsus’ Eternal Maxims in Arabic, so that he could distribute them to the missions in the Arab world. Such a thing seemed hardly possible, but the saint, encouraged by his friends, decided to fill the request.
Don Vincenzo lost no time. He sent the faithful Giacomo Salvati into the streets of Rome to raise the funds needed for this ambitious project — four hundred scudi, a large sum.29 Salvati was scared by the project, asking to be excused for his lack of competence. But Pallotti was unrelenting. Giacomo then asked if at least his master would give him a letter that could be shown to the Roman shopkeepers he would be soliciting, so that he might raise the funds in the name of Vincent Pallotti. The priest refused, planted a Crucifix in Salvati’s hand, and said, “Ask in the name of Jesus Crucified!” After only a few hours, the collector of alms returned with over five hundred scudi, something he thought hardly possible.
The thought that they had too much money was something of a conscience problem for Abate Pallotti. He told Salvati to return the money, but Salvati raised the objection that he could not possibly remember who had given how much. It was decided that the ten thousand Arabic books would be printed and that whatever was left over would be used to print pious books in Italian to be distributed for free. This required administration and coordination, priestly overseeing and lay activity. His request of God to begin a universal apostolate must have flashed back into his mind. These activities and others like them could be increased! The spare scudi must have been a sign! Thus, in the calm words of the Founder, “…it was thought convenient to create a Pious Society which, in the present state of necessity of the Church, would have for its purpose the multiplication of such spiritual and temporal aids as are necessary and opportune for reviving faith and rekindling charity among Catholics and spreading these virtues throughout the entire world.” The Pallottines were born!
Of course, it goes without saying that they were not called “Pallottines” until after the Saint’s death. St. Francis didn’t name his Friars Minor the “Franciscans,” and neither did St. Dominic choose to name the Preaching Friars the “Dominicans.” But while the new name had to wait until after the Founder’s death, there was still quite a bit of change in the Society from its inception in 1835 until Vincent went to heaven. For one, the original Society was not a religious congregation in itself, but rather more of an umbrella institution for linking, coordinating, and unifying the spiritual, missionary, educational, and charitable goals of existing institutions. In other words, St. Vincent wanted to get all of the oars of the Barque of Peter rowing in the same direction. Thus, Cardinals, bishops, secular priests, monks, nuns, religious of all sorts, and lay people of every walk in life were all welcome to join the Society to further its missionary ends and contribute their own talents. In return, they would be blessed with the merit of good works, and the rich spiritual bouquet of indulgences granted by the Supreme Pontiff to the new organization.
What changed in the Society was that in the following years, the addition of a corpo centrale (central body) was deemed necessary to give it greater organization. This quickly evolved into the religious congregation of priests and lay brothers now commonly referred to as the Society of the Catholic Apostolate.30 In addition, the Pia Casa di Sant’ Agata (Pious House of St. Agatha), which was founded to house and educate homeless girls, eventually evolved into a congregation of religious sisters by 1843. Therefore, although cut along looser lines, the Society of the Catholic Apostolate had, by 1843, all of the constituent parts of a religious order in the classical western sense of the word ever since the Dominicans: There was a “first order” of priests and brothers, a “second order” of religious sisters, and a “third order” comprising anyone (clerical, religious, or lay) who wanted to join and did not belong to the other two categories as a professed religious member. It must be stressed that St. Vincent consciously refused to use these classifications in his Society. He did not want it viewed in such a rigid, hierarchical manner, but as composed three co-equal parts.31
The Octave of the Epiphany
We have seen that St. Vincent’s Society was founded along the broad lines of increasing Faith and Charity in the whole world. When he sent out the plans for his new Society to the superiors of religious orders, he received a very positive response. One of the superiors commented that this Universal Apostolate was an all-out effort to return the Church to its primitive fervor. It is likely that that comment pleased the Founder very much.
Something symbolic of the Universal Apostolate is the Mystery of Epiphany. More than just symbolic, though, this Mystery lies at the very core of the Church’s identity. The Manifestation (Epiphany) of our Lord to the non-Jews is what gives the Church of Christ its note of “Catholicity,” or Universality. The Old Dispensation had its chosen race, but the New Dispensation united that race —”as many as received Him”32 — to the believing Gentiles, “breaking down the middle wall of partition”33 in Christ. The Feast of the Epiphany, which the Church of Rome celebrates on January sixth, has an octave extending to the thirteenth. Since this Feast is the perfect liturgical expression of the Universal Apostolate envisioned by St. Vincent, it had a great significance to him. (The Pallottine seal has the Star of Bethlehem on a black field, thus representing this Mystery.) Pallotti created a special celebration of the Octave of the Epiphany that was both a large-scale popular mission and a vivid display of the Church’s catholicity.
Mention has been made of Tomasso Alkuschi, the Persian Catholic, as well as St. Vincent’s interest in helping Arabic-speaking Catholics. The faithful of the Arab world are generally Eastern Rite Catholics, a part of the Church all too forgotten today. Aside from Alkuschi, the Founder had other Eastern Rite connections. He became a good friend of Mother Makrina Mieczyslavska, the Russian Rite nun who escaped the persecution of Czar Nicholas I and sought refuge from Gregory XVI.34 He was also confessor to the Greek College in Rome. Among the first monastic communities to join the Society of the Catholic Apostolate, was the Armenian Rite Mekhitarist Monastery of San Lazzaro in Venice.35 The very first meeting of the Society, on July 14 of 1835, was in a Maronite Church, Santa Maria in Carinis. And the first location of the Pious House for girls was a home owned by a Melkite Catholic. All of these connections of the Roman priest to the Oriental Rites gave him a thorough appreciation of the catholicity of the Church viewed in its liturgical variety. It is not surprising, then, that the Pallottian Octave of the Epiphany was, for one thing, a showcase of these beautiful rites, right in the heart of the Catholic world.
Every day of the Epiphany Octave another rite of the church is celebrated, sermons are preached in many languages, and by priests from various religious orders. The first year, 1836, the Octave took place in Spirito Santo, but that church proved too small. After being moved around year after year, the Octave finally grew into the enormous Theatine church of San Andrea delle Valle. In 1847, Ven. Pius IX made a surprise appearance there and preached a sermon in front of thousands. In the congregation that night was the English priest (later Cardinal), John Newman. Later, in the sacristy, the Holy Father congratulated Pallotti on the fact that there had been six thousand Holy Communions during the Octave. The unsatisfied Abate responded that things should improve. “Just as I thought,” replied Pius, “Father Vincent grumbles.”
The Octave still takes place in Mt. Carmel Church in New York. Thus, in 1996 (the most recent program the author has access to), attendees assisted at the following rites: Solemn Latin Tridentine Mass, Ghe’Ez Rite (Ethiopian); Ukrainian Divine Liturgy; Coptic Divine Liturgy; Syrian Divine Liturgy; Maronite Divine Liturgy; Ruthenian Divine Liturgy; and Italo-Albanian Divine Liturgy.
Friends in High Places
1837 was a year filled with death for the Roman Apostle. In that year, he lost two fathers. First, Pietro Paulo Pallotti died. The year before, Signor Pallotti had taken ill, and Don Vincenzo went to visit him. He made the strange statement that, although his father would recover from the present illness (1836), he would die a year later, and without Vincenzo’s priestly assistance. On September fifteenth, of 1837, Pallotti told his father to go to Mass and receive Communion. Signor Pallotti said that he had received within the last two days, but he followed his son’s advice. After returning from the church, death overtook him suddenly in his shop.
His spiritual Father, Don Fazzini also died that year, having the consolation of his saintly penitent’s child- like assistance during his hard death-struggle. This was, no doubt, a reward for guiding Pallotti for thirty years in the ways of sanctity.
June 9 of that same year saw the death of the visionary Blessed Anna Maria Taigi. She had been a friend of St. Vincent and had even assisted him personally with her prophetical powers. Taigi had the gift, hitherto unknown in the records of sanctity, of a “sun” which always hovered near her, which she alone could see. The sun would give her prophetical visions which had been of benefit to more than one Pope who received messages from her.
Father Natali, Bl. Anna Maria’s confessor and spiritual guide, related the story that on one occasion Vincent sought help. When a relative was missing, and was feared to have drowned himself, Vincenzo appealed to Taigi, using Father Natali as a go-between. Taigi looked into her sun and discovered the location of the relative, who was found according to her directions.
Pallotti regarded this seer as a saint in life and after death. It is said that St. Vincent made Taigi his “secretary general” with God in all his apostolic endeavors.
There is a common cliché uttered by one who trusts powerful men to come to his assistance in times of difficulty: “I’ve got friends in high places!” If such a saying of the world may be “baptized,” then St. Vincent surely could have uttered it. His friends included some who have been solemnly declared by the Church to be in high places. St. Gaspar Del Bufalo, St. Vincent Mary Strambi, and Bl. Anna-Maria Taigi have all been mentioned. We can add to the list others reputed for sanctity. Ven. Elisabetta Sanna, a Sardinian woman whom he had met as a young priest, is one. Another is Ven. Sister Maria Luisa Maruizini, whose extraordinary confessor St. Vincent had been. (After the death of Sister Maria Luisa, Vincent’s brother was cured of a crippling leg ailment after visiting her grave at the suggestion of Vincenzo.) Deserving of mention, too, are Bl. Pauline Jaricot, and Ven. Bernardo Clausi, a Minim Friar, both of whom we will hear about later.
Of all the holy people St. Vincent was close to, it seems that the Founder of the Congregation of the Precious Blood was the one most intimate with him. The relationship of St. Gaspar to Pallotti has been compared to that between Sts. Dominic and Francis. It had even been suggested (by St. Gaspar) that they merge their two foundations into one Congregation, but Pallotti respectfully declined the offer after careful consideration. The aims of the two societies were too different. So, like Francis and Dominic, they kept their congregations separate, but the saints remained spiritually inseparable.
When Del Bufalo entered into his final agony, it became apparent that the “dying year” of 1837 would take another friend. On December 28, Pallotti heard St. Gaspar’s confession and prepared him for eternity. Later that night, after attending other duties, Don Vincenzo was in the middle of a conversation from which he excused himself urgently, saying there was something important to do. Hurrying to the house where Del Bufalo was dying, and rushing upstairs, he threw himself on his knees at the bed of his friend and began to pray fervently. For fifteen minutes he prayed there, then Del Bufalo breathed his last; or, as Fr. Weber beautifully puts it, “the heart of the Apostle of the Precious Blood stopped beating.” Vincent was given the grace to see the soul of his friend ascend to heaven “as a radiant star,” at which sight he raised his hands and eyes and ecstatically called out, “O happy soul!”
War and More War
With official approbation for his Society from Pope Gregory XVI (July 11, 1835), Don Vincenzo had by no means finished his great work. He had only just begun to fight. And fight he did. He declared a war — with his army of twelve in the Society — for “the annihilation of sin.” That same year he became confessor of the Seminary for the Propagation of the Faith, the Roman seminary for foreign missionary students. Thus, his goal of extending the True Faith in foreign lands was being met by spiritually forming missionaries. 1836, in addition to being the first year of the Octave of the Epiphany celebration, saw him in a number of charitable roles. These included: providing more care for orphan girls, sending great quantities of rosaries, vestments, and chalices to Asia, Africa, America, and Australia.
In 1837 he was named councilor on the Central Council of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith (not to be confused with the Seminary, mentioned above). This was the missionary work founded by the pious French woman, Blessed Pauline Jaricot. Don Vincenzo greatly admired the work of this Society, and he preached sermons encouraging people to join the work and donate generously to its foreign missionary efforts. He prudently encouraged Bl. Pauline to make the headquarters of the Propagation in Rome instead of Lyons, France. The holy woman did not follow his advice, and as a result the Society for the Propagation of the Faith was soon disciplined by the Church for aggregating to itself too much control of the Church’s missionary activity, to the detriment of Roman authority. In 1922, further measures were taken by Pope Pius XI, who subdivided and de-centralized the Lyonese Society. St. Vincent’s advice proved prophetic.
It is believed that Jaricot received her inspiration for the project from Don Vincenzo, which is why a sad event of 1838 is so ironic. Some members of the Lyons Society thought that Vincent’s Society too much resembled their own. In fact, it was quite distinct in many ways. But the same nationalism which eventually got them in trouble caused some of the members to “pull strings” and have Pallotti’s Society suppressed. The suppression happened while Pallotti and the other members of his Society were in an organizational meeting. Monsignor Cadolini walked into the room and handed Vincent a letter — a very obnoxious letter — by which the Catholic Apostolate was dismantled. After reading the letter, the saint raised his eyes to heaven. In the whole matter, the closest thing to a complaint he uttered was “The French humble us.”
It did not take a lot on the part of St. Vincent to convince Gregory XVI to retract the suppression. The Pope wasn’t responsible for it anyway, and was not pleased with the turn of events. The Catholic Apostolate was saved, and after long negotiations, their differences with the Propaganda Fide Society were settled.
In the meantime, the priests and brothers of the Catholic Apostolate had taken up residence in the Neapolitan Church. This entailed St. Vincent’s moving out of his parents’ house for the first time in his whole priesthood. It also entailed suffering the wrath of the five unworthy Neapolitan curates even more, for now their rectory was crowded.
Foreknowledge and Bilocation
The miracles for which St. Vincent was reputed early in his priesthood continued as his work broadened. From 1840, after the saint returned from a “forced retreat” (due to sickness) at Camaldoli, date a number of such incidents. Filippo Focardi’s wife, who was close to death, revived when St. Vincent blessed her with the “Little Madonna.” He consoled her by promising to return to her when he was needed. On the night that she entered the throes of death, one of the family members was rushing out of the house to fetch the parish priest only to be met at the door by Don Vincenzo. As in the case of Del Bufalo’s death, he cast aside his usual calm demeanor and rushed upstairs, declaring, “She is going to eternity!” Seven minutes later, she died, accompanied by the prayers and blessing of the Saint.
On another occasion, he was traveling with one of his loyal confreres, Don Rafaele Melia. Melia was surprised when his superior took a sudden wrong turn. Don Melia’s natural reaction to point out the mistake was met by an urgent, “This way, this way!” Soon a frantic lady rushed toward the priests informing them that a woman was dying. Declaring “Have confidence!” Pallotti blessed the dying woman with the Madonna and she was cured.
There is a footnote to the story of the woman who was cured. His words, “Have confidence!” and another phrase, “Let us resign ourselves to the will of God and pray for this person,” were part of a code which Venerable Elisabetta Sanna cracked. Sanna, who had met Vincent under extraordinary circumstances, became one of his most devoted disciples. She had witnessed countless such visitations to deathbeds and noticed that when the “Confidence!” phrase came out of her confessor, the person was always cured, but when the second phrase was uttered, it meant certain death.
There were also instances of bilocation. One involved a pair of young men whose custom it was to confess to St. Vincent every week at Spirito Santo. Though they normally came together every week, once one told the other to go ahead of him and that he would catch up. While in the middle of the first boy’s confession, Vincent suddenly interrupted his exhortation to the young man and grew silent. A moment later, he commanded, “Offer your Holy Communion for the peace of the soul of your deceased friend!” After confession, the young man hurried to his friend’s house, to find him dead. The dead boy’s family reassured the saddened young man that he had just died in the arms of St. Vincent.
At least three such cases are documented, including one which happened at Sant’ Andrea della Valle, during the Octave of the Epiphany. A woman of ill-repute was dying and in need of a priest. Pallotti was in the confessional, where twice he was approached to come quickly and assist the woman. He replied that there was still time and continued to hear confessions in the Church. As he was hearing a man’s confession, he suddenly became motionless and trance-like. Returning to his senses, he exclaimed, “Let us thank God for his mercy!” As the penitent was leaving the Church, he received news that the woman had died a good death, assisted by Saint Vincent. This happened at the exact same time the man was in the confessional.

Reclaiming Mary’s Dowry
A letter from London, addressed to the Prefect of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, arrived on December 28, 1845. It was from Vincent’s loyal disciple, Don Raphaele Melia. In it, he described the woeful conditions of the Italian immigrants in London, with whom he had spent the last fourteen months.
Don Melia’s presence in London is representative of both the ardent desire of his master to extend the Church’s missionary effort, and of his self-sacrifice in fulfilling that end. Pallotti had great need of Melia, who was a key member of the fledgling foundation, but he selflessly sent him to London in September of 1844. It is somewhat reminiscent of the way in which St. Dominic, after barely banding together his Order, dispersed them all over Europe — bringing upon himself the accusation of recklessness.
The English mission of Melia was very specific and at the same time was part of a general movement. The Sardinian national church in London, which existed to serve Italian (Sardinian) immigrants, was in need of a chaplain. This was the immediate goal, and Melia could fill the position. More than that, though, there was a greater movement of which it was just a part. England was once called “Our Lady’s Dowry,” but since the Protestant Revolt, became known to Catholic Europe as perfida Albion — “perfidious England.” But eager talk was going all around the Catholic world of England’s conversion. The Oxford movement, which was bringing men like John Henry Newman and Fr. Frederick Faber into the Church, was the source of this hope.
Hopes were high, but perhaps too high. The popular conversion did not materialize, although there were, at the Pallottine mission in London, 1400 converts in ten years. Much of their effort was spent in keeping the Italians from losing the Faith. The Masonic “Young Italy,” with its anti-clerical, anti-papal ideals was one enemy of the Faith of these immigrants. Another was the Protestant “missionaries” whom Melia described as “alien wolves who were hunting the Italian sheep.” The sects even resorted to kidnapping in the deceitful guise of offering poor Italian children a place to live and be educated. When their parents discovered that the children were actually being propagandized in Protestant schools, they could only have them returned by resorting to legal action. Since most of them were poor, this proved impossible. Melia, therefore, became legal guardian to many poor children, so as to protect them from the “alien wolves.”
Don Vincenzo himself wanted to go to England, but was forbidden by his confessor (to whom he had vowed obedience). It was decided that another of the brethren would go, Guiseppe Faa di Bruno, a talented nobleman from Turin who owed his Pallottine vocation to the influence of Melia. The Founder told Melia that Don Guiseppe was, “endowed with gifts by God, and would be like an angel made visible for England.”
Faa di Bruno proved himself an effective apologist, and had public disputes with the Protestant “Mr. Cummings.” He wrote a book in English called Catholic Belief , which saw more than 30 printings, and in the U.S. alone had sold 200,000 copies before 1952. Melia and Faa di Bruno each in turn succeeded Vincent as Rector General of the Order and they both proved worthy missionaries. Don Faa di Bruno was responsible for the introduction of the Society in North America by sending Fr. Aemilian Kirner to New York City to found Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish.
“I Was in Prison”
Meanwhile, back in Rome, the Founder was busy with caring for souls in a number of ways.
On the day of the General Judgment, St. Vincent will be one of those on our Lord’s right who hears those blessed words recorded in St. Matthew’s Gospel: “For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.” (Matt. 25: 35-36) On that day, he would be able to check each of these six items off as something he performed in an heroic degree.
In 1843, he was made chaplain at the military hospital at Cento Preti, where he was to tend to the spiritual needs of the Italian soldiers. In the late forties, he continued with greater intensity a work he had begun as early as 1838, working with the inmates of various Roman prisons. The prison apostolate was not unlike another work he had been involved in around the time of his Society’s foundation, converting criminals condemned to death.
It deserves brief mention that Don Vincenzo had tremendous success with the condemned. He worked with the arch-brotherhood of San Giovanni Decollato (“Saint John Beheaded”), whose members did penance for those we now call death-row inmates. The Papal States did have capital punishment, as all civilized Christian societies had. (This may be a surprise to those whose liberal view of the “culture of death” perversely puts executing murderers on the same par as murdering innocent babies.) Part of being Christian also meant looking out for the spiritual welfare of the condemned, and the state was quite interested in this end, too. For this reason, execution days in Rome were days of prayer and penance.
St. Vincent was the last recourse of many prisoners. Whenever the work of bringing the condemned man to penance proved impossible for the members of the arch-brotherhood or their chaplain, they called in St. Vincent. In all, he converted seven such criminals between the years 1835 and 1846. Only in two cases did his efforts meet with failure.
In this capacity of assisting the condemned, he was the Father Confessor of a priest named Dominico Abbo, who was falsely accused of murder. Abbo was a real-life rendition of the falsely accused priest in the Alfred Hitchcock movie, “I Confess”; for he was protecting the seal of confession by not revealing the real killer. Pallotti considered him not only innocent, but also saintly; and he said that he benefited from their spiritual conversations as much as Abbo did. The innocent priest went happily to his death — barefoot and wearing penitential garb — after receiving Communion, and praying the Way of the Cross with Vincent. The latter spoke of him as a “happy priest.”
“I Was Sick”
The soldiers’ hospital was the scene of many miracles of grace wrought through the saint. In 1844 the hospital was transferred to another part of the city in a large gallery building called Corsia di San Carlo (Saint Charles’ Hall). One day, Don Vincenzo took a walk to this hospital with a young French priest who had recently joined the Society. Father de Geslin tells the story himself, much to his own mortification, since the whole story begins with his master rebuking him for not observing evangelical poverty and offending God’s Providence.
Pére de Geslin received a letter, which came with a blank piece of paper in the same envelope. When he routinely threw the envelope, letter, and blank paper into the fire place, Pallotti rebuked him for being wasteful. To remedy the situation, de Geslin was to take the blank page, and others that had collected, into the streets to find a ragman who would buy the scrap. When the ragman was found, Don Vincenzo accepted his offer (which de Geslin considered too low) and pocketed the small amount of change. The two priests then left for the hospital, stopping at a grocery to purchase a box of biscuits with their change on the way.
During the journey, Fr. de Geslin complained about the “bad weather” — it was teeming rain, and both were getting soaked. Don Vincenzo stopped in the street, the rain pouring out of the rear two points of his three-pointed Roman hat and running down his shoulders. He lectured his disciple on the audacity of calling God’s weather “bad.”
They finally arrived at the hospital, where they were greeted by another priest-confrere. At this point, Father de Geslin continues the story, beginning with the words of the priest who greeted them:
“‘Father, I recommend number fifteen; he won’t live throught the day and does not want to go to confession. He seems possessed by a demon. He is all there, but as soon as someone gets close to him, he swears like a Turk. His fellow patients cover their ears; they are frightened.’
“‘We must pray, my children,’ said Pallotti. ‘Pray a lot. God can do everything, and he wishes the salvation of this soul as much as we do. Let us go to the chapel.’
“We went there, and the priest said a short prayer and went off to number fifteen. […]
“He did not begin as I would have thought. First, he spoke with a few neighboring patients, glancing now and then at the man without being noticed. The latter began to mumble as soon as he saw Don Pallotti, and made a horrible face which was quite frightening to behold.
“And, after a while, as nothing seemed to happen, he turned and, without relaxing his expression, closed his eyes. But only for a moment, for in that time, the good priest arrived unnoticed by his bedside. When the man opened his eyes, they met those of the priest, who was already blessing him.
 “A ferocious anger spread over his face, and had he had the strength, I don’t doubt that he would have jumped up at Don Pallotti and strangled him immediately. This man, who had never allowed any priest to come close to him, went into a rage. He gnashed his teeth, started foaming at the mouth, and opened his mouth to pour out his horrible blasphemies. He didn’t have time to say a word: quick as a wink, the priest stuck his hand in his pocket and pulled out one of the cookies he had bought and put it in the patient’s mouth, saying, ‘Mangia, figlio, che ti fará bene .’ (Eat, my son, it will do you good.)
“His blasphemy, arrested by this object, seemed to retreat into his throat, unable to come out. But one could tell that the anger was still there. His eyes seemed to say: ‘Wait until I’m through.’
“He hurried to swallow the biscuit in order to start up his horrible litany. But despite his efforts, he could not swallow very quickly, and his charitable visitor had time to speak to him.
“‘Come, my child, soon you will be before the great Judge: try to avoid getting there guilty of another crime. What good is all this blasphemy — it wounds your poor soul. The God and the saints whom you blaspheme are above all this. You are hurting yourself, not them.’
“His biscuit finished, the patient once again opened his mouth in order to utter a blasphemy, when a second biscuit was introduced with the same result, A second exhortation followed without, however, provoking a change in the patient’s expression. He was no doubt waiting for his aggressor’s ammunition to run out. Mistake. The pockets were full — an arsenal of cookies. This went on for some time, with always the same results. The good father knelt by the patient; at one moment he pleaded with his own tears that the man have pity on his poor soul; the next minute, he exorcised him, or he prayed for him. Now and then he blessed him with a holy picture of the Virgin and Child which he always carried around. He had the patient focus on this picture full of smiles and forgiveness. He begged him not to die this way, so that at the Last Judgment, they would be together at the right hand of God.
“After a while, divine grace seemed to do its work, and it seemed that the patient’s expression showed some repentance. Don Vincent suggested an act of contrition which the moribund seemed to agree to. His lips no longer refused the crucifix, and soon tears sprang from his eyes. The Father passed his violet stole around his neck and very quietly murmured a confession to which the dying man answered with an affirmative nod of the head and words inaudible to the rest of us.
“When it was over, the priest motioned to me to prepare everything for the last rites. With only three biscuits gone, all blasphemies had been eliminated. From that moment on, the moribund generously accepted death.
“He received Extreme Unction and the Holy Viaticum in sincere repentance. As I had come closer to hold the candle which must burn during the holy unction, I heard him repeating the names of Mary and Jesus after the priest. His last words were: ‘Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, help me in my last agony.’ He died before nightfall.
“Father Pallotti said the De Profundis next to the body, and when the sheet was pulled over the transfigured face of the dead man, Don Vincent got up, came to me, and looking at me with a kind smile said: ‘There goes a soul who never expected to see purgatory this morning. Now you see the importance of even ‘little scraps of paper.’”
A similar story is that of Pio Bossi, a soldier whom St. Vincent tended to in his home, where he was dying. Because we let Fr. de Geslin get rather longwinded about the first story, Pio’s will only be outlined.
The young soldier was demoralized and had been infected by Masonic ideas. He was sent home from active combat because of a serious physical illness. Bossi’s family feared him to be dying, and feared worse where he was headed after this life. There was one practical problem in getting him a priest; Bossi had a loaded gun at his bedside and swore to kill any priest who walked in the room. But Vincent (whose name means “conqueror”) was able to conquer this soldier. He disguised himself as an old woman and, under the pretext of giving the family a break from tending to his sick bed, the priestly “old lady” entered Bossi’s room. This was at night, around bed-time. To make a long story short, the next morning, the family found neither the “old woman” nor an impenitent Pio; they found Father Pallotti together with their genuinely converted prodigal.
Revolution and Counter-Revolution
Since January of 1846, the Society and its Founder had taken up residence in the Church of San Salvatore in Onda, a Conventual36 Franciscan monastery which was given to them by Gregory XVI.37 On June first of that year Gregory XVI, who had been such a generous benefactor of Vincenzo’s work, died. Saint Vincent was given the grace some months later to know that Gregory had entered heaven that morning. (When asked how such a holy Pope could be so long in Purgatory, the Saint said, “God’s mills grind carefully.”) We regret that Father Pallotti’s relationship with Gregory XVI could not be treated more fully in these lines. As for his successor, we are obliged to write of him a little more.
The story was told above about how Mastai-Feretti had his future Papal vocation foretold to him by Vincenzo. But this episode in no way implies that the two were birds of a feather.
On June fourteenth, the white smoke was seen and the Habemus Papam! heard. When Don Vincenzo found out the result of the papal election, he threw himself on his knees, wept, and pressed his balding head onto the stone floor of his cell in San Salvatore. When he arose, the tears still in his eyes, he declared, “Let us pray, great woes are in store for the Church!”
St. Vincent stood in stark contrast to the rest of the Roman populace, which was greeting the new Pope everywhere with confetti and shouts of “Evviva Pio Nono! ” St. Vincent kept repeating, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are of Esau.” He did not trust the new Pope’s popularity as a sufficient barrier against the Italian Liberals’ conspiracies. He was waiting for God’s severe judgment to fall upon Rome. Once again, he proved to be a prophet.
The Masonic infection in Italy has been referred to many times in this article. These liberal nationalistic ideas — like those of their cousins, Communism and Zionism — were not merely in the intellectual realm. Like their cousins, they grew into action.
The very spirit of madness that led to the French Revolution (1789) had spread beyond the bounds of France into the heart of the Catholic world. Italian radicals wanted to create a “unified Italy,” fusing the various smaller kingdoms into a modern liberal republic. There was one major problem, however: that vast chunk of land in the center of Italy known as the Papal States, a sovereign nation with the Pope as its monarch. Gregory XVI had held on tenaciously to the Papal States. This last “Monk-Pope” stridently resisted the spirit of Freemasonry and the doctrinal indifferentism that accompanied it. But his successor was known to be a liberal in political matters, and conservatives in Europe — Don Vincenzo included — quaked when this “compromise” Cardinal was elected.38
Don Vincenzo appealed to the Roman populace to pray so that a public chastisement would be avoided. But God was not satisfied and His wrath flowed over. The year 1847 was one full of imprudent political capitulations on the part of Pius IX. The radicals thought that they could get their way with him, and in certain instances, he proved them right. “Death to the Jesuits” became a rabble-chant in the Roman streets in early 1848. The Society of Jesus was seen as the friend of Gregory XVI and Austria, and the enemy of Italy and “the people.” On March 28, Pius disbanded the Society in the Papal States and some feared another suppression as had happened under Clement XIV. During this time, the liberal thugs around the Pope forbade Vincent to get to the Roman Pontiff.
The Propaganda Fide College, run by the now disbanded Jesuits, sought help from St. Vincent by asking for Don Melia to return to his former post as vice-Rector. (He had returned to Rome to make plans for expansion of the London mission.) Vincent agreed, and the Propaganda Fide College remained in operation, thanks to the U.S. consul, who allowed the Stars and Stripes to fly over the seminary, signaling a “hands-off” to the revolutionaries.
On July 25, 1848, the Austrians defeated the Piedmontese, who were fighting with them over the Tyrol. This was a hindrance to the revolution; but it also added fuel to its propaganda machine, which tried to force Pius into a war with Austria. The Pontiff refused.
On November 14, Father de Geslin acted as faithful imitator of his master by helping a dying impenitent man return to the grace of God. The man, Gasparo Lunati, had been in the Carbonari, and confessed that he was part of a plot to kill Pius IX’s secretary of state, Pelligrino Rossi. Lunati made it clear that Geslin could use this information outside of the confessional. The French priest immediately notified Vincent, who had several people warn Rossi, but to no avail. Rossi went ahead with the public appointment he was forewarned would be his death. True to Lunati’s words, an assassin came out of the crowd and plunged a dagger into the Papal secretary of state, killing him.
In the ensuing chaos, the “Republic of Rome” was declared. The Pope was forced to flee to Naples, where he took refuge in Gaeta, thanks to the French and Bavarian emissaries and the hospitable King Ferdinand II of Naples. Vincenzo’s work in the military hospital was called to a halt by the tyrannical rulers and the brave Don Vaccari (less well known than his rector) disguised himself as a doctor to visit the patients. It was no longer safe for Don Vincenzo to show himself publicly. Twice, attempts were made on his life.
The revolutionaries, who barged into monasteries and rectories unannounced, were confiscating Church property. It was therefore decided to send Don Melia back to London, and disperse the other brethren throughout the city, leaving only de Geslin in San Salvatore. His French citizenship and accent would protect him. Don Vincenzo himself took up residence in the Irish College, whose seminarians and faculty were grateful to have a saint in their midst. Both Don Melia and Bishop Wiseman invited Vincenzo to England for his own safety, as well as to aid the London mission, but Vincent refused. While in the Irish College, he took advantage of his retreat to write God the Infinite Love , a book of meditations, much resembling the devotional books of St. Alphonsus de Liguori.
The French, Neapolitans, Austrians, and Spanish finally came to the rescue of the Pope. General Oudinot fought Garabaldi and Mazzini, whose minions were turning Rome into a war zone and a brothel at the same time. Oudinot fought successfully, and, on July fourteenth, the General declared the restoration of Pius IX’s secular rule.39 The Pope, however, did not return until April of 1850. When he did, it was “no more Mister Nice Guy.” It was then that the archconservative Pius IX of the Syllabus of Errors, Vatican I and papal authority was formed. In large part, Pallotti was blamed for this change.
To give just a small idea of the bestial anti-Catholic nature of this Masonic revolution, we present one fact: The monastery of San Callisto, turned into a prison during the revolution, revealed the mangled bodies of ninety murdered, tortured priests, all killed in the name of modern “liberty.”
Ad Infinitam
In his mystical life, St. Vincent had adapted a number of mottos that he placed on the top of his letters and notes. One was caritas Christi urget nos (the Charity of God impels us). Another was ad infinitam Dei gloriam (to the infinite glory of God). This latter was his own upgrading of St. Ignatius’ ad majorem Dei gloriam (substitute “greater” for “infinite.”) The Apostle of the Infinite one day himself had to consummate his life and go “to the Infinite.”
During the Epiphany Octave that year, Don Vincenzo made it known that it would be his last. He had been apprised of his imminent death by his Minim friend, Bernardo Clausi. The Minim visited him in August of 1849 and offered this exhortation: “Vincent, Vincent, rise from this dirty world! What are you still doing here? One month and three days!” The words were taken to mean that St. Vincent would die one month and three days after Ven. Bernardo. As they bid each other goodbye for the last time, Clausi said, “Farewell, farewell, Father Vincent!”
Pallotti asked, “But where do you want to go, you little old fool?”
Clausi replied, pointing up, “I go to grandfather and grandmother, but after another month we shall see each other again up there.” Clausi died in December of 1849, in the Minim monastery of Paola.
On January fourteenth, St. Vincent said Mass before the miraculous image of the Mother Most Admirable at the convent of Santa Trinitá dei Monti. As he was leaving, he told Mother Makrina, the Russian Nun, that this would be the last Mass he said there. Two days later he took ill at the home of James Salvati. He was diagnosed with pleurisy. Giving away his cape to a cold pauper during the Octave apparently brought on the illness. Thin cassocks just aren’t warm enough in January, even in Rome.
When Elisabetta Sana heard that her confessor was gravely ill, she quickly made her way to San Salvatore. Father Vaccari greeted her at the door. When he told the sick priest that Sana had arrived, Pallotti cried out, “Tell Elisabetta that I hope to be able to leave the bed soon. Prayer and submission to God’s will!” Vaccari was happy to deliver the news, but his happiness turned into confusion when Sana burst into tears upon hearing it. She knew the “code,” and the part about “submission to God’s will” told her Vincent was dying. He would leave his bed because he is headed for the grave.
His death was the kind of death we should all pray to have. He received the Last Rites, reciting the words with the priest administering it. He blessed his little community and encouraged them to perseverance. “Do you know what a beautiful feast there is tomorrow? It is the wedding feast of the Mother of God, and there will be great joy in heaven tomorrow.” He was referring to the Feast of the Espousals of our Lady on January 23, of special significance to him because he was mystically wedded to that great Spouse. His spiritual sons tried to induce him to stay in this life, after all, he had cured so many others. “My God, my God! Please, please, let me go, to wherever God wills!” he said. He fell further into the bed and repeated, “Please, please, let me go, to wherever God wills!” Half an hour later, after once again receiving sacramental absolution, he died.
That night, while she was weeping in her room, Elisabetta Sana saw a vision of Don Vincenzo. He was clinging to the Crucified Redeemer, Whose sacred wounds shed a light of glory around Pallotti.


1 Carnival comes from carne vale , Latin for “goodbye, meat.”
2 Romans 1:8
3 See Numbers 25
4 Lamentations 3:27
5 These were not in Vincent’s immediate family. One would include his nephew, Luigi Pallotti.
6 See Tobias 12: 7
7 Though the author does not fear the general outbreak of such penances among our youth as a result of his article, he still feels obliged to say that such austerities as these are recommended only under the prudent guidance of a competent priestly spiritual director.
8 “The Piarists” was the popular name given to the “Canons Regular of the Mother of God of Pious Schools,” the religious congregation founded by St. Joseph Calasanctius. It was St. Joseph who founded San Pantaleo school. The very room where St. Vincent attended classes was where St. Joseph was gifted to receive a visitation of the Blessed Mother, and the staircase he daily ascended to go to school was the scene of St. Joseph’s miraculous healing of a boy whose eye had been plucked out.
9 This branch of the Franciscan tree has given the Church one of our most famous and most recent blesseds: Blessed Padre Pio.
10 The Franciscan Third Order boasts many saints and other famous people: St. Pius X, St. John Marie Vianney, St. Louis of France, Christopher Columbus, and Dante were all Third Order Franciscans. In addition to being a Franciscan Tertiary, Vincent also belonged to the Third Orders of the Dominicans, the Minims of St. Francis of Paola, the Carmelites, and the Trinitarians.
11 Micheas 5:2
12 The author is reminded of a priest in the Boston area years ago who was not like St. Vincent and who insisted on being called “Doctor” instead of “Father.” He was surprised one day by a penitent in the confessional, who began confession with the words, “Bless me Doctor, for I have sinned…”
13 Those doing their math may have noticed that Don Vincenzo was only 23 years old at the time of his ordination to the priesthood. This was one year short of the canonical minimum of 24; therefore it was necessary to have proper dispensation to ordain him.
14 Psalm 126:1
15 According to the most authoritative biography of St. Vincent we have (Fr. Weber’s Vincent Pallotti: Apostle and Mystic ), it is not known whether St. Vincent had read the writings of St. John of the Cross, or had gotten his teachings from secondary sources.
16 Luke 5:8
17 The trivial spirituality that exists among the “charismatics” of our day reduces God to a cosmic “Sugar Daddy” and has no place for this type of holy fear. One book the author has seen refers to the “huggable, snuggable God.” St. Vincent would have blasted this type of silliness.
18 St. Vincent Strambi learned the ways of sanctity right from the founder of the Passionists, St. Paul of the Cross.
19 Don Vincenzo’s thoughts on this in a letter to Gaspar Del Bufalo are so clear and timely that they deserve to be read: “It will be said that this painting or that statue has been created by an eminent artist and is very precious. You must answer: The sanctifying grace with which the soul of Christians is adorned possesses the greatest, an ineffable value. Nothing is uglier than a single deadly sin. Man’s soul is the master-work of God, the Greatest Artist, and costs the infinite price of the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The immoral art of the days of Don Vincenzo was light fare compared to today’s smut. What would the saint say of the aesthetic and moral sewer created by heavy metal, rap, and the multiform blasphemy funded by the notorious National Endowment for the Arts? If St. Vincent appears the fanatic in his thoughts and actions on this matter, then what we need today is a healthy dose of fanaticism against public immorality. The would-be-fanatic reading this is encouraged to make Vincent’s words his guiding light: “Into the fire, therefore, into the fire with these objectionable images, paintings and books! Death and destruction to the immoral statues!”
20 Abate in Italian is equivalent to Abbé in French. It refers to any cleric, from the tonsured seminarian to a priest.
21 Bl. Allen de la Roche, the disciple of St. Dominic, for one.
22 Matt. 9:8
23 There is an ambiguity in the names here. During the early years, St. Vincent changed the name a few times, forced to do so by complex circumstances. Eventually, the name “Society of the Catholic Apostolate” was suppressed and the men’s Congregation was named the “Pious Society of the Missions” (PSM). The original name was restored by Pope Pius XII and since that time the Pallottine Priests and Brothers are SACs (in Latin, Societas Apostolorum Catholici ). To clarify the ambiguity between the larger Society containing all three parts, and the male religious congregation at its core, the larger entity was renamed the Union of the Catholic Apostolate some time after Vatican II.
24 This is not to say that he was anti-hierarchical. Anyone who reads his life or works knows that the opposite is true. The bishops, priests, religious, and lay members each had their distinct dignity according to their state in life, but all are equally Pallottine.
25 John 16:24
26 There are apparently conflicting reports in the various biographies, which assign either 1834 or 1835 as the year of his becoming rector at the Neapolitan Church. It seems that he was assigned the post late in 1834, but did not take his office until sometime after the beginning of 1835.
27 Alkuschi was a Persian, apparently born in Armenia. He was a Chaldean Rite Catholic (see next footnote) and professor of Oriental languages in Rome.
28 Nestorianism is the heresy condemned by the Council of Ephesus in 431. They denied that Mary is the Mother of God (Theotokos , literally “God Bearer” in Greek), saying that she was merely the Christotokos , or “Christ Bearer.” Hence, to them, Jesus was two persons, one divine, the other human. The Catholic Church teaches that He is one Divine Person with two natures (human and divine). Any Protestant who says that Mary is not the Mother of God, but just “the mother of His humanity” has accepted this heresy. Persia and India became havens for Nestorianism, and the heresy still exists in the East, especially in Iraq. The Catholics of Iraq are of the Oriental Rite known as Chaldean. There are Chaldean Catholics in America, mostly in Chicago, Detroit, and various cities in California.
29 The sum was estimated at $1,200.00 in 1980. One has to consider U.S. inflation since then, as well as the fact that the funds were needed in 1835, to appreciate the value of the sum.
30 There is an ambiguity in the names here. During the early years, St. Vincent changed the name a few times, forced to do so by complex circumstances. Eventually, the name “Society of the Catholic Apostolate” was suppressed and the men’s Congregation was named the “Pious Society of the Missions” (PSM). The original name was restored by Pope Pius XII and since that time the Pallottine Priests and Brothers are SACs (in Latin, Societas Apostolatus Catholici). To clarify the ambiguity between the larger Society containing all three parts, and the male religious congregation at its core, the larger entity was renamed the Union of the Catholic Apostolate some time after Vatican II.
31 This is not to say that he was anti-hierarchical. Anyone who reads his life or works knows that the opposite is true. The bishops, priests, religious, and lay members each had their distinct dignity according to their state in life, but all are equally Pallottine.
32 John 1:12
33 Eph. 2:14
34 For Mother Makrina’s story, see From the Housetops #41.
35 The Mekhitarists are named after Venerable Mekhitar of Sivas (1676-1749), an Armenian Monk who entered into union with Rome and in 1701 started a monastic foundation of the Armenian Rite. Pope Clement XI formally approved them in 1711 as a Congregation following the Benedictine Rule.
36 The Conventuals are the Franciscan branch to which St. Maximilian Kolbe belonged.
37 In this house had once lived the Franciscan Saints, Peter of Alcantara, Giacomo della Marca, Amadeus of Portugal, and John of Guadalupe. It had also been the home of two Conventual Popes, Sixtus IV (+1484) and Sixtus V (+1590).
38 To show how liberal Pio Nono’s family was regarded, we bring out this one fact: Gregory XVI had said of the Mastai household “Even the cats are liberal.”
39 It is unknown to us whether or not the ironic selection of Bastille Day was deliberate.

SOURCE : http://catholicism.org/saint-vincent-pallotti.html