Strambi’s Biography of St. Paul of the Cross

In 1782 the task of writing the biography of Father Paul of the Cross was formally entrusted to Fr. Vincent Mary Strambi, who at that time was Provincial of the Presentation Province in Italy and residing in the retreat of St. Angelo (Vetralla). He fulfilled the work with the meticulous exactness of a scholar and the spirituality of a saint. Indeed the book must be considered more the fruit of prayer, wisdom and the testimony of a disciple, than as a purely literary composition. He begged the prayers of others for the accomplishment of this work, which he wrote after studying the fourteen volumes of the ordinary processes and all of Father Paul’s letters, with the collaboration of some young priests, in the poor little cell of the early desert Paul inhabited at the beginning of the Congregation. “He himself confessed to Cardinal Lambruschini that he had written it from beginning to end on his knees.”

This much desired book came out four years later and won approval of the competent judges as well as the enthusiasm of all spiritual persons. In a very short time the first edition was out of print. “The work,” wrote Father Philip, “brought much honour to the Congregation and was a great spiritual benefit, especially to souls dedicated to prayer. One worthy ecclesiastic and director of souls had no sooner obtained the book than he put aside all others, saying he found the life of Fr. Paul all he needed both of theory and of practice.” Divided into two parts, the historical (44 chapters) and the spiritual (41 chapters), the work reflects the best qualities of its author: a fully documented and faithful history, written by an exact theologican, a man filled with the spirit of God and experienced in the ways of interior perfection.” One learned bishop very truly observed: “You Passionists do not need treatises on asceticism, the life of your founder, Strambi wrote, is the best of them all.”

– History of the Passionists by Fr. Carmelo Amedeo Naselli C.P., p. 498

Copies of St. Vincent Strambi’s work “The Life of Blessed Paul of the Cross” can be obtained from Old and Rare Booksellers via the internet. For example, type Strambi for the author’s name at Biblioz.com  here

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