Today is the feast day of Saint Vincent Strambi. Ora pro nobis.
Vincent Strambi was born in Civitavecchia, Italy, in 1745. He was the only child of the pharmacist Giuseppe Strambi and his wife Eleonora who survived infancy.
He was a happy and athletic child who manifested a strong interest in spirituality. When he was fifteen, he received the clerical “tonsure” and entered the diocesan seminary at nearby Montefiascone. Two years later, he decided to continue his studies in Rome. The following year, he attended the Dominican house of studies in Viterbo to study theology.
He found his vocation when after his ordination as a deacon in 1767, he made a retreat amid the Passionists of Monte Fogliano, where Saint Paul of the Cross, their founder, was residing at the time. Prior to his ordination he was named rector and professor within his seminary, Montefiascone. Saint Paul of the Cross named him professor of theology, patristics and preaching.
Saint Vincent became a bishop after many years of preaching missions all over Italy. But never could he forget his Order, though he had to put aside its habit. Saint Paul of the Cross on his deathbed had said to him several times: Padre Vincenzino, I recommend to you the poor Congregation. When Saint Vincent asked what he wished him to do, Saint Paul replied: You will do great things! You will do great good! I recommend to you this poor Congregation!
As bishop of Macerata and Tolentino, he continued whenever possible to rise at midnight for the divine office, and regretted being unable to dedicate more than five hours to prayer each day. He called in the poor and gave them alms. He visited the hospitals and the prisoners, blessed, embraced and helped them. He visited every religious house of his diocese, then the Canons and the parish priests. He preached for his clergy a beautiful mission, then organized specialized services for the various professions of the laity, saying, the lawyers need different instruction and different sowings than the merchants or the physicians, for example; to each his own portion of the truth! His table was very frugal; never did he permit more than two dishes. He reduced expenditures to a minimum, to be able to give more to the poor.
In the political upheavals of the time, he was a fearless advocate of the freedom of the Church and chose exile in preference to an unlawful oath of loyalty to Napoleon. When he returned to his Diocese after exile, he once again manifested his deep pastoral concern and extraordinary charity for the poor. It was during his time in this office that Napoleon’s sister, Pauline Bonaparte, returned to the Catholic faith with Vincent’s guidance.
Called by Pope Leo XII to become his personal advisor, he died in Rome on January 1, 1824.
Saint Vincent was beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and canonised by Pope Pius XII in 1950. In November 1957, his relics were transferred from SS John and Paul to the Church of Saint Philip in Macerata.
Image: St. Vincent Strambi (4)
Research by REGINA Staff