St. Philip Neri was born in Florence on July 21, 1515. He was a Christian missionary and founder of the Congregation of the Oratory.

At 18-years-old, Philip went to live with a wealthy family member in San Germano to assist in business. But soon after, he experienced a mystical vision, considered his Christian conversion.

He lost interest in business and felt a call from the Holy Spirit. So, he set out for Rome.

During his first two years in Rome, he spent his time in a solitary life, dedicating a lot of time to prayer.
In 1535, Philip began studying at the Sapienza and at St. Augustine’s monastery. However, after three years, he set out to help the poor and re-evangelize the city.

He had a knack for starting up conversations and leading his listeners to the Christian Way of life.
In 1548, with the help of his confessor, Philip founded the Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity for poor laymen to meet for spiritual exercises and service of the poor.

Philip’s appealing nature won him friends from all societal levels, including that of Ignatius of Loyola and Charles Borromeo.

Philip was ordained to the priesthood in May 1551.

A large room was built above the church of San Girolamo to tend to Philip’s growing number of pilgrims. Philip and the other priests were soon called the “Oratorians,” because they would ring a bell to call the faithful in their “oratory.”

The foundation for the Congregation of the Priests of the Oratory was officially approved in 1575.

Philip whole-heartedly desired the reform of the Catholic Church. His efforts to reach out to the lay people made him one of the great figures in the Counter Reformation of the Catholic Church and he soon earned the title, “Apostle of Rome.”

On May 26, 1595, Philip suffered from a hemorrhage and passed away.

St. Philip Neri was beatified in 1615 and canonized in 1622.

He is the patron saint of Rome, US Special Forces, humor and joy. His feast day is celebrated on May 26.

To learn more about St. Philip Neri: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=97

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