Wednesday, October 30, 2002

St. Philip Post- Part One
I promised earlier to blog about my being a Secular Oratorian. However, I've been trying to figure out where to begin. After all, most people don't know what an Oratorian proper is, let alone a Secular one. I thought of the article I have written for the Oratory's new website, on our founder, St. Philip Neri. The new site itself is not up yet, but I'm going to blog from the article. There will probably be some changes before it goes on the website, but I'll blog it as is in small parts, along with quotes from St. Philip himself.

Who was St. Philip Neri?

Philip Romolo Neri was born July 21st, 1515, in Florence, in what is now Italy. (Italy did not become a united country until the 19th century.) His parents were Francesco Neri, a notary, and Lucretia da Mosciano. He was the third of five children, but the oldest and youngest children died when they were infants. Philip was taught by the Dominicans of San Marco, a community probably best known for the great artist-friar Blessed Fra Angelico.
Florence had been an independent republic, but in 1532, when Philip was 17, the powerful Medici family conquered the city. Since Francesco Neri had been prominent among those who opposed the Medici regime, he sent his son away, probably hoping that Philip would be able to prosper better in a city where his family's politics were not a liability. Philip went to San Germano, a busy trading city at the foot of Monte Cassino, home of a famous Benedictine abbey. His 'uncle Romolo', (actually, a cousin of his father) was a merchant in San Germano, moderately wealthy and without any children of his own. Philip's father sent Philip there to learn the business. He most likely hoped that Romolo Neri would eventually leave his property to his 'nephew'.
We know little about the time Philip spent in San Germano, but from the few details we have Philip seems to have been far more interested in prayer and his relationship with God than in becoming a wealthy merchant. He spent time in various chapels in the area, and became familiar with the Benedictine community there. It is thought that Philip gained some of his understanding of stability, as well as his love for the Church Fathers, from this contact with the ancient Order of St. Benedict.

St. Philip Neri Quotes:
"Well ! When shall we have a mind to begin to do good?"
"He who wishes to be perfectly obeyed should give few orders."
"To mortify one's passion, no matter how small, is a greater help in the spiritual life than many abstinences and fasts."
Taken from If God Be With Us: The Maxims of St. Philip Neri, ed. Fr. Frederick Faber, C.O., Gracewing)


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