Today, October 18, marks the anniversary of the death of our Holy Founder, Saint Paul of the Cross. The Universal Church celebrates his Feast Day on October 19th but North America celebrates it on October 20th due to precedence given to those brave North American martyrs remembered on October 19th.
Just now I was browsing through our library books to see if I could find something of interest to share with you regarding his final days. And I was also looking for something that won’t take long to type!
In the booklet, St. Paul of the Cross, Passionist published by Passionist Press in Dublin, I found this:
Opposition and disappointment dogged Paul’s path to the end, but in his closing years God gave him some great consolations. One was the foundation, after the usual sequence of opposition and setbacks, of the Order of enclosed contemplative Passionist nuns (that’s us!) for which he had written the Rule and obtained papal sanction. When the first house was opened (1771), he was confined to bed by sickness, but gave it gave him great consolation to know that his spiritual sons would now have the support of the prayers of dedicated contemplative sisters…
During the last few months of his life Paul was granted a foretaste of heaven. The break of his fifty years and more of desolation (often compared to Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta and the Dark Night she endured) came while he was speaking on spiritual matters to a lady whose director he had been for many years. In her presence, Our Lady appeared carrying the Divine Child, who placed his hands on St. Paul’s head and…” gave him a message of reassurance.
His last round of visits to the houses he had established was a triumphal procession. The people who lived in the neighborhood lined the streets and brought out their sick, even the bedridden, that he might bless and cure them as he passed.
Paul of the Cross died on October 18th, 1775.
Here is an account of the holy death of St. Paul of the Cross.
It is unfortunate that the breviary gives a very inaccurate biographical sketch of our Founder. Please click here for a short depiction of his life.