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1694 A.D.:  Paul of the Cross Begins His Amazing Walk On Earth

 

1694 – 1775 A.D.:  Paul of The Cross…..Outlandish Miracles!

 

Paul of the Cross 

 

 

 

 

  There are people that won’t hear talk of a Father who created them and a Jesus who saved them and a Holy Spirit who guides and teaches them.  They reject all such thoughts outright, and can’t presently be convinced.  Some others allow that it could be true, but aren’t betting on it and frankly aren’t that interested!  They’re hard to convince!  Others are actively seeking the truth, but will have to investigate for a while longer.  And some people believe in Jesus, but can’t help but reserve judgment about accounts of great miracles in more recent times.  Those last guys are going to have big troubles with the life of this guy:  Italian born Paul Francis Danei…..who became Paul of the Cross!    

 

  Paul of the Cross had the powers of the Holy Spirit evident in his life to an extent that you could scarcely imagine one of the 12 Apostles to have had, yet he was a contemporary of George Washington and Great Britain’s King George III and King Christian VII of Denmark and Norway, just to name a few notables from the 1770’s.  Paul (1694 to 1775 A.D.) was also an almost exactly contemporary with Voltaire (1694 – 1778 A.D.) the ‘enlightenment’ writer who used all of his skills and abilities to convince people that there really was no such thing as God.  It is interesting that the Lord would provide so much proof to the contrary of Voltaire’s claims using a man whose life spanned nearly the same years! 

 

  Paul is one of the better proofs that the deeds of God among men have never ceased, even in relatively modern times, nor diminished in their power to amaze.

 

  He was born in Ovada, Genoa, Italy.  If Italy is shaped like a boot, Ovada is at the top of the front, and back off of the coast an hour or so by car.  His brother John, who would be his close lifelong companion and the ‘second pillar’ of the Passionist movement that they would one day form, was born a year later.  Working together they were destined to make a large impact on the faith in their region both during and for a good time after their lives.

 

                                                                            

 

   As boys they shared a strange incident that some sources speak of:  they almost drowned in the Tanaro River, but a woman came to save them, a beautiful woman that they believed was the Virgin Mary.  They couldn’t have easily forgotten that. 

 

  Little brother John was quiet and devout, and though he grew to be a great preacher he fled the lime light at every opportunity.  He was almost the definition of truly shy and humble, and Paul looked up greatly to his younger brother’s piety and trusted him as his personal confessor and mentor and loving critic.  But, the more famous was Paul who was an outgoing personality, and enjoyed traveling much more.  He also had a tremendous number of miracles attend his life. 

 

   Paul grew up very devout.  As children, after their near drowning incident, they engaged in such prayer, fasting, and penance at home that their mother often prevented them.  But they were resolved, and such became their lifelong habit. 

 

  As he became an adult, at one point John felt compelled to join the military and did.  But it became clear to him that it was completely wrong for him.  When he got out, he decided that he needed to devote his life to Jesus.  He was especially drawn to the actual crucifixion of Jesus, finding great depth and meaning in it.  He was fascinated with the image of a crucified Christ, and carried a cross nearly always.  He thought that the crucifixion was the most poignant of all things that a Christian could contemplate upon.      

 

  He received visions that his job was to work with the Passion, and that he should form a group that did this.  He obtained permission from the Pope to found a group, an order of monks, devoted to the ‘Passion’, as the crucifixion of Jesus is called.  Together with John, he located their order at Monte Argentaro, Italy.  It was called the Passionist Order, and as novices came to join them it grew respectably.  One of their tasks was to preach throughout the land, and they called these trips ‘missions’.  Missions were often to churches, but sometimes not.

 

  The miracles that attended Paul of the Cross were extremely numerous, powerful, and sometimes strange.  They continued until the last of his life, which was 81 years.  Here is a sampling of some of the more widely celebrated miracles that the Lord worked through Paul of the Cross:

 

  As mentioned, Paul went many places to preach and evangelize, or ‘do missions’.  At Orbetello in 1741 A.D. he attracted a good crowd, and when he had completed the mission and was leaving the city to return to Argentaro, he was about to board a boat when a pair of very distraught parents rushed up to him.  Their child was dead, they told him!  The boy had been leaning out an upper story window, watching the dispersal of the crowd that Paul had spoken to, when he had slipped and plummeted to the street below, killed almost instantly.  Could Paul return with them? 

 

  Paul hurried back with them and the dead child’s body was still there.  Medical people had been able to do nothing.  As the intent crowd watched, Paul took some time for prayer, then leaning over the child he placed his hands above him and prayed fervently again.  As everyone watched, the child began to stir and then soon was sat up, then stood up, unhurt.  He was both alive and restored!

 

  Sometimes when out on missions, Paul’s voice, his preaching, could be heard clearly at ridiculously far distances by people who were greatly in need of repentance and salvation.  One occasion of this was reported by a man on the island of Elba (to which Napoleon was banished in 1814) who was approaching a town where Paul was speaking, but was approximately a mile away still.  Yet, he clearly heard a voice from the town church speaking of the fate of a sinner that dies and goes to what awaits him.  He heard of the terrors that await such a one. 

 

  Hearing clearly, even at so great a distance, these surprising words of the terrible future he himself probably faced, the man hurried to town and found that Paul had been there only a short time before lecturing on the affects of sin.  The man became frightened, hurried to church, and there received aid in making his peace with God in hopes of saving his soul.

 

  A shepherd on the same island of Elba had a similar experience.  Unable to leave his flock, he had sat just into the woods watching his flock and saying his rosary when he found that he unexpectedly began to hear all the words that Paul was saying in the far distant church, and could hear them very clearly.

 

  At another mission on the Western Italian sea port of Cevita Vecchia, on the Tyrrhenian coast, this oddity occurred again.  A man was lying sick in bed and unable to travel the approximately one mile to his church to listen to Paul speak.  He reported that he was never the less able to hear Paul’s speech and sermon with clarity despite the intervening distance.  Let’s bear in mind that the man ought to have known quite well whether it was normal to hear voices coming from the church while in his own home, and he was very surprised that he could hear them when Paul came to town.

 

  And one last instance of this peculiar miracle occurred in a village called Civita Castellana, which is about 50 miles north of Rome.  There was a doctor there who heard that Father Paul was in town, and he wished to hear him preach.  But, on two consecutive days when he meant to go into town and join the crowd he was instead compelled to travel out into the country to provide someone with unexpected treatment.  But on the second day he stopped at a small roadside Marian prayer  niche to pray, and found to his amazement that he could hear the words of Father Paul quite clearly right there.

 

  There are two examples that I encountered of a quite different sort of miracle, a type of miracle so crazy sounding that it would be unreasonable for anyone not familiar with the accounts of Paul of the Cross to believe them true.  They apparently passed muster when looked into, however, so here they are:

 

  Once Paul was trying to preach and teach to some soldiers in an area said to be called Portecole (I have not found its location, so this spelling may be incorrect)  to see if any of them might become believers, and he had a reputation for being a special priest, yet not all of the soldiers wanted to hear him speak.

 

  One soldier was sitting on a large stone and was trying to get one of the other soldiers, a more religiously respectful man apparently, to talk and play cards with him.  But that man was expecting Paul to walk by soon, and he didn’t want to be playing cards when the Priest came through.  So the first man started speaking obscenely and blaspheming about the Priest and religion apparently.  There was a dead ox being skinned out by a butcher not far from them, and the man is reported to have stated, “I will as soon be converted as that ox returns again to life!” 

 

  The ox suddenly showed signs of life, struggled to its feet, and rushed at the man sitting on the stone.  The man leapt aside just as the ox crashed head first into the stone, leaving much blood and falling down dead again, permanently this time. 

 

  A second and almost unbelievable account is similar, and yet seems to have been reputably attested to as a true event.  I have not seen a copy of any sworn affidavit with my own eyes but where I read of this event it was recorded that the eyewitness to it signed a sworn affidavit that it actually did occur just as follows:

 

  Father Paul was a guest at the home of a man named Signori Goffredi, and a hen was served for dinner.  St. Paul objected to the meal, saying, “You have inadvertently done wrong to kill that poor animal, because with her eggs she was the support of a poor woman to whom she belonged.  Let us do an act of charity.  Open that window.” 

 

  When the host opened the window Father Paul blessed the hen, which was already cooked, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  The startled host watched their dinner return to life, become covered with feathers, and go cackling out the window and flying away to the house of her mistress.   

 

  Signor Gofreddi soon afterwards learned that this hen that he had purchased and cooked had been stolen by the man he bought it from.  This man, Signor Gofreddi, is again said to have sworn under oath that this impossible, almost ludicrous story, is none the less true.  But remember, where there are miracles through men or women, it is Yahweh’s power that actually does the miracle, and so while we may feel skepticism at times, and no doubt should at a few times, it is still true that God made all things from dust…from nothing.  Making a healthy and living chicken from a plucked and cooked chicken is probably less trouble than making the first chickens from dust!  So….who can say?  The testimony remains that this occurred.

 

  Is it harder to hold back the elements?  Another type of miracle that this unusual servant of God sometimes accomplished was the alteration of weather.  Sometimes when he preached outdoors it would rain, the records say, but not on the ones who stayed to continue hearing him.  Others, racing to take shelter, would become drenched.  But he would assure the crowd that they should stay and keep listening, and at Santafiora and again at Sutri in 1751A.D. it is attested that the portion of the crowd that stood fast to continue listening did not get wet, but the ones who ran to buildings or other cover did. 

 

  These were cases of a full church with many additional people wishing that they could get in.  So, Father Paul had preached from the doorway, so that both those inside and those outside could see and hear him.  And so, the faithful crowd outside enjoyed the unexplainable experience of standing in the midst of rain that did not fall upon them.

 

  Rain is one thing (and not an easy thing!) but how about gravity?  Much travel was done by river, and once when Father Paul was scrambling out of the boat onto a large rock at the river’s edge his feet slipped out from under him.  But, as those near him observed, his body did not fall, but instead remained suspended long enough for him to bring his feet back to the rock and find better foot holds.

 

  Traveling with a friend to a mission on yet another occasion, they stopped to sit beneath a tree to rest in its shelter.  But Father Paul told him that they must move to a different tree.  So, resting nearby at the base of the new tree they watched as the first tree fell over onto the place where they had been sitting.  They might have been hurt or worse, but Father Paul was spiritually forewarned.

 

   Some Christian religions believe in purgatory, a place where souls of the dead are cleansed by punishments of certain of their sins which are not quite as severe as to deserve Hell but which must be atoned for.  Father Paul related that various souls trapped there would plead with him in the spirit for his prayers, and that he was even taken there in a vision on one instance so that he could understand their suffering.  It was said that after that vision he was shaken and very committed to praying for those held there.   

 

  Father Paul related a case where he counseled a certain priest who was a good friend to him about some sins that he knew that he had, perhaps not of the highest order, but sin none the less.  The other priest listened, but perhaps only to an extent.

 

  One night Father Paul was in his sleeping cell and there was an extraordinarily loud knock on the door.  He thought it might be the devil, and decided not to answer it.  But as it went on he went to the closed door and enquired.  A voice identified itself as this recently counseled priest.  He had just died, and he gave the time of his death.  It was about 15 minutes earlier. 

 

  This deceased priest claimed that he was consigned to purgatory and suffering quite terribly there.  He said it seemed to him as if it had already been a thousand years.  He begged for prayer from Father Paul.

 

  Paul readied himself and went to the chapel and interceded with prayers and mortifications of his flesh for hours.  He was finally told through the Spirit that in a day the priest’s soul would be released from its punishments

 

  He told people that while giving a mass the next day he actually saw the soul of his friend arise through the church, ascending towards heaven.

 

  Another sort of spiritually amazing gift he possessed could perhaps be called ‘the offering of safe passage’.  An example of this was a time Father Paul was giving a mission in Monte Romano, and needed to send a letter to Sutri.  He hired a man named Mattia Maire to deliver the letter, but Mattia explained that the river he would have to cross was swollen with flooding from recent rains and not passable.  Father Paul assured him that he would have Divine protection, and so to go without worries. 

 

  A believer in Paul’s special standing with Heaven, Mattia took the letter and rode.  Arriving at the river crossing he saw many travelers waiting it out near the bank.  They advised him to wait also, but against their advice he started the horse across the river.  The witnesses realized that they were seeing his horse’s shoes the whole way as it crossed the river.  It did not sink down into the water, and they realized that they were witness to yet another great Saint Paul of the Cross miracle!

 

  And a second case:  wishing to go on a mission to an island, the famous priest saw an abandoned old boat lying on the beach.  It was pretty unfit, but he wished to go cross over immediately.  Talking to some in the accompanying crowd who sailed, he asked them if they would transport him to the island with that small boat so that he could begin to preach there.  They explained to him that the boat was untrustworthy and that was why it was essentially just abandoned there. 

 

  Father Paul assured them that if they would get him to the island, it would prove safe.  With great faith in the celebrated priest the sailors took faith.  They embarked, ferrying him over, and the boat held up, but it is reported that upon arriving on the beach of the island, the boat broke apart as they climbed out.  It had been held together by unseen hands, they believed.

 

  In 1750 A.D. the Saint was near the town of Civita Castellana, which was dealing with a food shortage due to that year’s weather.  A certain generous woman, who usually shared her grain with the poor, lamented to Paul that she did not think that she would be able to share any grain at all that year, as she had only about 30 quarts of grain. 

 

  Father Paul told her to not worry.  He advised her to give as much as always, even more, and all would be fine. 

 

  She took faith in his words because of his reputation, and there was a repeat of the miracle of the loaves from the Bible, in a sense.  Though she gave out grain for months, the stock did not diminish, and she had even more at the end when food became generally available again.  The people of the area learned what a mighty God it was that provided for them. 

 

  Once, walking down a road towards a mission, Paul came beside a man who was profanely cursing at the uncooperative oxen who pulled his wagon.  When he chided the man for his language the man’s cursing just became worse, and even at the Priest.  Finally Paul raised the cross he carried into the air and the two oxen immediately stopped their rebellion and knelt on their knees.  The man became very frightened, apologized, and decided to seek his peace with God. 

 

  These are a few of the sorts of miracles that identify Father Paul as a saint favored even among saints, and one given the power of miracles as few have ever been.  John died about 10 years before Paul, who eventually died among people in his order.  They left behind about a dozen locations where there was a convent of their followers to continue their work, and so his and his brother’s many efforts bore fruit that long outlasted them both. 

 

  Today their order’s official name is ‘The Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ’.  Their leader lives in Rome.  Their expressed goal is to mix evangelism and contemplation.  There were about 2,100 of them as of 2012 A.D., and they can be recognized by the letters C.P. after their name, and by their symbol….a heart with a cross on top of it.  They wear rough wool clothing with the letters ‘Jesu XPI Passio’ on them, and they wear sandals instead of shoes.  There are both male and female groups. 

  Father Paul’s love for Jesus can hardly be doubted, or that it was mutual, in light of the seemingly endless series of ‘great deeds of God’ witnessed where ever he traveled as he served the Lord.

 

  Hello,

  I believe that knowing how many great deeds of God have actually occurred through out history will lead some people to be saved through joining their life to Christ.  If you agree, then please, take the time to be a 'missionary', to love your neighbor enough to care about their soul.  Please mention and recommend visiting the Deeds of God website on any social media sites that you belong to.  Tell a favorite account to your friends or family, and tell them where you read it.  To know God is to stand in awe of Him, but too few people know Him today.  Accounts like these are yet another way to come to know Jesus and the Holy Father, and the Spirit of Truth that helps us understand.  Thank you.  Dan Curry

 

 

 

 

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