22nd November

“After a period of discernment, Bishop Gattinara agreed to clothe Paul in the black tunic and let him begin his ‘penitential life’. Paul got hold of some of the rough wool cloth called arbagio worn by poor people in the country around Genoa. According to his sister Teresa, it was the bishop who paid for it. After Paul had had the cloth dyed black so as to look like what he had seen in the vision, Teresa herself made the tunic. It was like a large sack with sleeves, gathered at the waist with a belt made from the same cloth. The course wool would be uncomfortable next to his skin. The sign he had seen in the vision, the white cross with the name of Jesus under it, he would not be able to wear until many years later. Instead, he would wear a crucifix on his breast.

The date set for Paul to receive the tunic was 22 November. He had thought of the twenty first, feast of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple, a feast which spoke to him about giving oneself to God, but as the following day was a Friday, decided to wait until then in honour of the Passion of Christ.”

(As A Seal Upon Your Heart, The Life of St. Paul of the Cross, Founder of the Passionists by Fr. Paul Francis Spencer, C.P., p. 35)

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