Phillip Neri was a likable saint.

Friday, 5/26/17

Today we honor Phillip Neri, a likable saint. Born in Florence in 1515, his mother was of the nobility, his father a successful merchant. After doing college courses with the Dominicans of Florence, Phillip at eighteen was apprenticed to an uncle, a prosperous merchant in Naples. After  doing well at that for three years, he obtained permission to study on his own in Rome.

While studying Theology and the Bible, Philip took to walking here and there through Rome. Like Socrates of old, he tied people down to explaining what they lived for. He drew on his merchant connections for taking women out of prostitution, setting them up with work they could live by.

Becoming a companion to all the young men studying  Rome, Phillip came to be highly valued by the pastors of Rome’s parishes. While they were uplifted by seeing him in deep contemplation of the Trinity, he fought against  people seeing him as a saint. To lower their high esteem  for him, he began carrying a monkey on his shoulder.

With many young men becoming his companions in studying and in helping the needy, the priests of Rome bought an abandoned hall for them. That place came to be known as the Oratory, and his companions came to be called Oraorians.

When the pope came to recognize the Oratorians as a separate order in the Church, Phillip resisted being named its superior and to taking on lay brothers. The Oratorians took turns doing the clean up.

No comments:

Post a Comment