Francis, and thus was a member of the Franciscan family, while not being a friar. 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, 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. Abate Pallotti, who already had practical experience teaching his playmates, was now a religious instructor with the official sanction of the Church.
The University. 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. 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. Included in the training were disputations in which the students would debate one another under the supervision of their professors. 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. 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. During this time, an extraordinary event occurred in the streets of Rome.
In , 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. When the sympathetic Pallotti asked the nobleman what troubled him, Giammaria explained his plight. You will not stand on guard, but you will be guarded. On September 21 of , Vincenzo received the first of the Major Orders, the subdiaconate. The following year, on November 20, he was ordained a deacon.
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Priestly ordination was just around the corner, but before ordination, he had to complete one more year of studies. Thus, in July of , 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.
What a dignity, what a dignity! 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! 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, , in the Lateran Basilica.
Abate Pallotti is now Don Vincenzo, a priest of the diocese of Rome. 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. 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. 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. 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. Vincent during his early priesthood. In the Vineyard. During the years between his ordination and the founding of his religious congregation, St. Vincent was a very busy man. 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. 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. The Alliance worked to destroy sin by removing dangerous occasions of sin which presented themselves in the decadent art of the day.
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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. 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. The Unio was one of St. His main occupation for the years to was that of a seminary professor.
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.
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The students found in their professor a good theologian and a model cleric. 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!
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 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.
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Sacrifice and mortification were a part of St. 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.
He did nothing to have it corrected and apparently never complained about the horrible pain it must have caused. His appetite for food was another. When his mother induced him to eat more, she did the best she could by citing the Gospels. He eats so little that he is really fasting every day of the year. The extraordinary phenomena that have accompanied the lives of many of the great saints were witnessed in St.
One of these was the cure of the daughter of Giacomo Salvati, the man mentioned in the beginning of this article. She then asked him if he would see her daughter who was upstairs, suffering from a condition diagnosed as terminal. As early as , 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.
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