Saint Paul of the Cross

Saint Paul of the CrossAlso known as

  • God’s Hunter of Souls
  • Paolo Francesco Danei
  • Paul Daneo
  • Paolo della Croce



The son of Luca Daniel and Anna Maria Daneo; he was the second of sixteen children born to the couple, ten of whom died in infancy. Paolo was baptized at the age of 3 days, and was raised in a pious family; his father, a merchant, was known for his deep faith, and a brother and close uncle were both priests. Paolo was known as a pious child who attended daily Mass, but he wasn’t confirmed until he was 25 years old, a common practice of the time. In 1701 the family moved from Ovada to Castellazo Bormida, and Paolo received his early education at a boy’s school run by a priest in Cremolino, Italy. In 1713 he had what became known as a “conversion” experience, which convinced Paolo that he was called to religious life. He declined an arranged marriage, and when he received an inheritance from a rich uncle, a priest, he kept only the man’s breviary and refused the wealth.

In 1715 he volunteered for the military service in the crusade against the Turks, but his call to religious life led him to return home in 1716. In 1720 he received a series of visions that confirmed his call, including one where he saw himself in what would become the habit of the Passionists. With his bishop’s support, he went on a 40 day retreat and wrote the rule of a potential community, which he called The Poor of Jesus. His brother, Giovanni-Battista, became the second member of the community, and the two moved to Rome, Italy to help found a hospital and seek other members to help them care for the patients and staff.

While there, the Daneo brothers studied theology, and on 7 June 1727 were ordained to the priesthood by Pope Benedict XIII in Saint Peter’s Basilica. The brothers became travelling preachers, leading parish missions around Italy. Father Paul was a preacher of such power that hardened soldiers and bandits were seen to weep at his words. He was known as a great spiritual teacher; over 2,000 of his letters survive, most devoted to spiritual direction.

Due to the ascetic lifestyle of a Passionist, the group attracted few members to begin with, but they were a dedicated lot, spending at least three hours in prayer each day. They established their first Retreat, as Passionist monasteries are known, in 1737 on Monte Argentario on the west coast of Italy. Pope Benedict XIV approved the Passionist Rule on 15 May 1741; Pope Clement XIV approved the congregation in 1769. Father Paul reluctantly served as the congregation’s first superior-general, and by the time of his death there were 12 Retreats and 180 members. The Passionist fathers, brothers and sisters continue their good work around the world today.







The soul is a seed which God sows in the field of the Church; to produce fruits, it must die under the strokes of pains, sorrows, contradictions, and persecutions. Saint Paul of the Cross

Let us fear more to be deprived of sufferings than a miser fears to lose his treasures. Saint Paul of the Cross

Suffering is brief; joy will be eternal. Saint Paul of the Cross

Do you know why God subjects you to so many miseries? That He may bestow on you the riches of heaven. Saint Paul of the Cross

In your trials, have recourse to Mary, and She will remedy them. Saint Paul of the Cross

He who truly loves God regards as little what he suffers for God’s sake. Saint Paul of the Cross

The greater our cross, the greater is our gain; the more deprived suffering is of consolation, the purer is it; the more creatures are against us, the more closely united are we to God. Saint Paul of the Cross

Sufferings are the pearls of Jesus crucified. It happens sometimes that the lightning rends a mountain and discloses therein a mine of treasures. So, also, the thunderbolts of adversity bring forth a gold-mine in certain souls. Saint Paul of the Cross

I hope that God will save me through the merits of the Passion of Jesus. The more difficulties in life, the more I hope in God. By God’s grace I will not lose my soul, but I hope in His mercy. Saint Paul of the Cross

One day the Lord caused me to hear these words at the foot of the tabernacle: ‘My son, he who embraces Me embraces thorns.’ Saint Paul of the Cross

It is very good and holy to consider the passion of our Lord, and to meditate on it, for by this sacred path we reach union with God. In this most holy school we learn true wisdom, for it was there that all the saints learned it.

Therefore, be constant in practicing every virtue, and especially in imitating the patience of our dear Jesus, for this is the summit of pure love. Live in such a way that all may know that you bear outwardly as well as inwardly the image of Christ crucified, the model of all gentleness and mercy. For if a man is united inwardly with the Son of the living God, he also bears his likeness outwardly by his continual practice of heroic goodness, and especially through a patience reinforced by courage, which does not complain either secretly or in public. Conceal yourselves in Jesus crucified, and hope for nothing except that all men be thoroughly converted to his will. – from a letter by Saint Paul of the Cross

My heart breaks when I think of the sorrows of the most holy Virgin. Oh tender Mother, unutterable was Thy grief in finding Thyself deprived of your dear Son, and then in beholding Him dead in Thy arms! Ah! who can realize the sadness of Mary when She returned to Bethany after the burial of her Son? Jesus expires on the cross! He is dead that we may have life. All creation mourns: the sun darkens, the earth trembles, the rocks burst, and the veil of the temple is rent in twain; my heart alone remains harder than a rock! Saint Paul of the Cross

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Paul of the Cross“. CatholicSaints.Info. 16 November 2021. Web. 21 January 2022. <>