Paul of the Cross was born at Ovada in Liguria and, as soon as he came to the use of reason, burned with love for Jesus Christ crucified. Fired with the desire for martyrdom, he joined the army which was being assembled in Venice to fight against the Turks. But when the will of God was made known to him, and he had refused a most honourable marriage and an inheritance left to him by his uncle, he received a coarse tunic as a habit from his bishop and, although not yet a cleric, cultivated the field of the Lord by preaching the word of God. In Rome, out of obedience to Pope Benedict XIII, he was raised to the priesthood. Then he retired into the solitude of Monte Argentario, where the Blessed Virgin had already invited him to go, at the same time shewing unto him a black habit adorned with the insignia of her Son's Passion. There he laid the foundations of a new congregation, whose members bind themselves by vow to promote the memory of the Lord's Passion, and he also established one for nuns to meditate continually upon this mystery. Renowned for his preaching, virtues, and divine charisms, he fell asleep in the Lord at Rome, in the year 1775. Pope Pius IX enrolled him among the Blessed and then among the Saints.
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