This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January 22 -- Feast of St. Vincent Pallotti

Here's an odd one. Two sources (Bangley and Wikipedia) offer two very different accounts of this saint's life. They do no contradict, but they focus on entirely different aspects of his life, work, and spirit. One finds this less with older saints, I suppose, since the sources all go back to the same few ancient writers.

Vincent was apparently single-minded and serious in his attachment to God's work. Bangley says that he was the victim of practical jokes by jealous fellow priests. I'd like to know what those were -- Ipecac in the communion wine? Ganja in the censor? I doubt it, but the possibilities are many.

Vincent joined many other nineteenth century saints in recognizing the plight of the urban poor and dedicated himself to addressing their needs. He apparently ran afoul of the more conservative elements of the Church, as his Society of the Catholic Apostolate was briefly suppressed by Pope Gregory. Other upper echelon types sprang to his defense, and the suppression order remained unenforced. It was re-invoked in the 1850s, so the Society changed its name to the Pious Society of Missions. Unofficially, its members were called Pallotines and their work remained unchanged. In 1947, the Church recognized the silliness of the name change and permitted them to be called the Society of the Catholic Apostolate again.

Bangley offers us one intriguing aspect into the character of Vincent. When a dying man was refusing last rites, threatening to shoot any priest who came near his bed, Vincent dressed as a woman to get close enough to talk to him. I need a better account of this to know whether the dying man accepted extreme unction or not.

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