Francesco Maria Arboreo di Gattinara was born on 13th January 1658. A former Provincial Superior of the Congregation of the Clerics Regular of St. Paul, commonly known as the Barnabites, he had been Bishop of Alessandria for fourteen years, when he received the young Paul of the Cross for him to explain what was on his mind. Paul began by making a general confession, then shared with the Bishop the inspirations he had received about wearing the black tunic, going barefoot and living in poverty. As he told his story the Bishop was moved to tears. When Paul had finished Bishop Gattinara asked him to write it all down.
After a period of discernment, Bishop Gattinara agreed to clothe Paul in the black tunic and let him begin his penitential life.
He left Alessandria in 1727 to take up his appointment as Archbishop of Turin (Italy).
Archbishop Gattinara died on 14th October 1743.
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