St. Vincent Strambi: Fearless Advocate for Religious Freedom
The saint of the day for September 25 is St. Vincent Strambi, Passionist priest and bishop.
Vincent Strambi was born in Civitavecchia, the port city of Rome on January 1, 1745, the only child of the pharmacist Giuseppe Strambi and his wife Eleonora who survived infancy. He was a happy and athletic child who manifested a strong interest in spirituality. When he was fifteen, he received the clerical “tonsure” and entered the diocesan seminary at nearby Montefiascone. Two years later, he decided to continue his studies in Rome. The following year, he attended the Dominican house of studies in Viterbo to study theology.
Prior to his ordination he was named rector and professor within his seminary, Montefiascone. While on his ordination retreat, he met St. Paul of the Cross and immediately decided to become a Passionist. Paul of the Cross named him professor of theology, patristics and preaching.
Traveling throughout most of Italy, he endeavored to promote the Christian life among the people by preaching on the Passion. He wrote hagiographical books, including a Life of St. Paul of the Cross, and devotional books, the most significant of which was that on the Precious Blood. Being an outstanding ‘spiritual director,’ he directed, among others, Saint Gaspar del Bufalo and Blessed Anna Maria Taigi.
Appointed Bishop of Macerata and Tolentino, he showed himself to be a true shepherd of his flock and promoted the reform of the clergy and the people with apostolic zeal. In the political upheavals of the time, he was a fearless advocate of the freedom of the Church and chose exile in preference to an unlawful oath of loyalty to Napoleon. When he returned to his Diocese after exile, he once again manifested his deep pastoral concern and extraordinary charity for the poor.
Called by Pope Leo XII to become his personal advisor, he died in Rome on January 1, 1824. Pope Pius XII canonized him in 1950.
Jesus, only You are the best Shepherd of Your Church.
Support with grace those we are responsible
for the fate of Your fold,
so that following the example of St. Vincent Maria Strambi,
they devote all their powers and talents to service to the Church.
You live and reign for ages and ages.