Vincent Strambi


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St Paul of the Cross (1694—1775)


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bishop of Macerata and Tolentino. Born at Civitavecchia, the son of a pharmacist, he was educated for the local diocese and was ordained priest in 1767. On the advice of Paul of the Cross, he joined the Passionist congregation in 1768. Once professed, he studied Scripture and the Fathers and lectured in theology and sacred eloquence. Later he was chosen for important offices, such as Provincial (1781) and Consultor (1784–96): he was also a renowned spiritual director.

In 1801 he was appointed bishop of Macerata and Tolentino in the Marches of Ancona. He improved standards in his diocese especially through the higher quality of its priests. He sold the old seminary and built a new one: he himself gave the students one conference each week, and insisted on their receiving two each week in Gregorian Chant. He also encouraged catechetics and founded a popular library. He generously helped both the school at Tolentino and the Somaschi orphanage.

In 1808, like many others, he refused to take the oath of allegiance to Napoleon and was expelled from his diocese, first to Novara, then to Milan. After Napoleon's defeat and subsequent escape from Elba, General Murat made Macerata his headquarters. Murat was defeated by the Austrians, to whom Vincent's personal appeal saved Macerata from being sacked. Other calamities however soon followed, such as an epidemic of typhoid and conditions of near-famine.

On the death of Pius VII Strambi resigned his see. He ended his days in Rome at the Quirinal, where he was the valued adviser of the conservative Pope Leo XII. He died on 1 January and his body was buried at Macerata. At various times in his life he wrote several books, especially on the priesthood. He was canonized in 1950. Feast: 25 September.

Lives by F. Cento (1951), Fr. Stanislaus (1925);see also B.L.S., ix. 236–8;Bibl. SS., xii. 1178–80.

Subjects: Christianity.

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