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Bl. Angelo Paoli, Priest

Bl. Angelo Paoli, Priest

January 20, 2024

Angelo Paoli, known as Francesco born on September 1, 1642, in Argigliano, Italy, was a Roman Catholic priest and a devoted member of the Carmelite order. He earned the title "father of the poor" due to his profound dedication to helping the impoverished and the sick, earning praise from several cardinals and prelates in Rome. Despite offers from Popes Innocent XII and Clement XI to become a cardinal, he declined, preferring to continue his charitable work among the needy.

Early Life

Francesco Paoli was the eldest of seven children born to Angelo Paoli and Santa Morelli in Argigliano. Named in honor of Francis of Assisi due to his family's strong devotion, he spent much of his youth teaching Catholic doctrine to underprivileged children in Argigliano. He attended grammar school in Minucciano, where his uncle, Father Morelli, served as the assistant priest.

Religious Life On November 27, 1660, Paoli and his brother Tommaso joined the Carmelites at the convent of Cerignano in Fivizzano. After returning home briefly, they received the habit in Fivizzano and then went to the convent of San Nicola in Siena for their novitiate. Paoli adopted the religious name "Angelo" in honor of his father. He made his vows in 1661 and pursued studies in philosophy and theology in Pisa and Florence.

Paoli's ordination journey saw him become a subdeacon in 1665, a deacon in 1666, and finally, a priest in Florence in 1667, celebrating his first Mass on January 7. He served as a sacristan and organist until 1674 when health issues forced his return home. In 1674, an incident where he distributed bread to the poor without the supply depleting was considered miraculous. Seeking anonymity, he became a hermit in the Garfagana mountains but continued celebrating Mass at the shrine of San Pellegrino at dawn. He later served in various locations before settling in Rome in 1687.

Contributions in Rome In Rome, Paoli devoted himself to caring for the sick and the poor in hospitals and served as the Master of Novices at the convent of Santi Silvestro e Martino ai Monti. He advocated for the restoration of the Coliseum to honor those who died for their faith and placed wooden crosses there, fulfilling a long-held dream. Paoli also aided victims of earthquakes and floods, providing food, clothing, and comfort to those in need. His compassion led him to establish a hospice for the area's poor in 1710.

Despite offers to become a cardinal, Paoli declined, prioritizing his service to the impoverished. He passed away on January 20, 1720, and was buried at Santi Silvestro e Martino ai Monti. Pope Clement XI honored him as the "father of the poor."

Beatification Paoli's beatification process commenced in 1723, gaining momentum under Pope Clement XII in 1739. Pope Pius VI recognized his virtuous life in 1781, granting him the title of Venerable. Despite initial delays in the beatification process, a miraculous healing in 1927 attributed to Paoli's intercession revived interest. Pope Benedict XVI officially approved Paoli's beatification after confirming the 1927 healing as a miracle on July 3, 2009. The beatification ceremony took place at the Basilica di San Giovanni Laterano on April 25, 2010.

 

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