St. Paul Francis Daneii was born in northern Italy in 1694. His parents were deeply devoted Catholics who raised him in the faith. He received his education from a priest at a school for boys in Lombardy, and spent much time studying and praying.
When he was 15, Paul returned home. He turned down an offer of marriage and an inheritance left to him by his priest uncle. He received a vision from God, and founded the Barefoot Clerks of the Cross and the Passion (or the Passionists), to preach about Christ’s Passion and death. He was a powerful preacher, and even hardened men wept at his words.
Against his wishes, Paul was elected the first superior general of this order in 1747, at the first general chapter. He upheld all the disciplines of his order, inspiring those following him to a greater zeal for preaching. He was tireless in his work, eventually succumbing to ill health in his later years.
St. Paul died on Oct. 18, 1775, and was canonized in 1867.