Vincent Pallotti


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St John Bosco (1815—1888)


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priest and founder of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate. The son of a Roman grocer, Vincent was educated for the priesthood and ordained in 1817. He obtained a doctorate in theology, which he taught at the Sapienza College, but soon resigned this post to devote himself entirely to pastoral work through the influence of Gaspare del Bufalo. He then became confessor of several Roman colleges, including the English, Scots, and Irish.

He developed a lay apostolate in spite of clerical hostility, anticipating the later Catholic Action movement and the teaching of Vatican II on an apostolic role for all Christians. In 1835 he founded his Society from a group of clergy and laity, who were committed to conversion and social justice. He organized schools and evening classes for workers to improve professional standards and general education. These policies resembled those of John Bosco.

He practised exorcism and had the gift of prophecy: more important were his charity and fidelity in the confessional and his repeated habit of giving away his clothes to the destitute. He died of pleurisy at the age of fifty-five. His Congregation (as well as the Pallottini sisters, founded in 1843) has flourished in Italy, Brazil, Australia, and the USA, where it has specialized in care for the immigrants and, like their founder, in promoting ecumenical contacts with Eastern Orthodox Christians. He was canonized in 1963. Feast: 22 January.

[ J. Hettenkofer] Historia Piae Societatis Missionum (1935) and Historia Societatis Apostolatus Catholici (1950); Lives by F. Frank (2 vols., 1962–3), D. Pistella (1963): see also B.L.S., i. 146–9; Bibl. SS., xii. 1781–6.

Subjects: Christianity.

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