Saint Philip Benizi

detail of a statue of Philip Benizi de Damiani, by Rinaldino di Francia, date unknown; Church of Santa Maria dei Servi, Padua, Italy; photographed on 1 June 2016 by Didier Descouens; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsAlso known as

  • Felipe Benicio
  • Filip Benizi
  • Philip Benitius
  • Philip Beniti



Born to the Italian nobility. Brilliant student. Studied medicine at Paris, France, and Padua, Italy, receiving his doctorates in medicine and philosophy by age 19. Practiced medicine for about a year, but following a vision of the Virgin Mary, he quit to join the Servites as a lay brother at Monte Senario in 1254. Ordained at Siena, Italy in 1258. Tried to hide his education so he could remain a simple member of the Order, but he was persuaded to use his gifts and background to further the Servite mission. Novice master at Siena in 1262.

Sent to Forli, Italy to resolve a conflict between the papacy and the emperor, he was heckled and then physically attacked while preaching. Philip turned the other cheek. Father Philip’s non-violent ways caused a converion in Peregrine Laziosi who later became a Servite saint.

Superior of several Servite friaries. Elected prior-general of the order on 5 June 1267, much against his protests. Attended the Council of Lyons. Codified the Servite rules, and defended against attempts to disband it in the wake of the Second Council of Lyons which put restrictions on mendicant orders. Worked to bring peace to the Guelphs and Ghibellines in 1279. He was considered a candidate for the papacy at one point; when he heard the rumor, he went into hiding on Mount Tuniato until Pope Saint Gregory X was chosen. Worked with Blessed Andrew Dotti. Helped Saint Juliana of Cornillon found the Servite third order. Dispatched the first Servite missionaries to the East in 1284. Lived his last few months in retirement in a Servite house in Todi, Italy.

Miracle worker and healer. He once met a leper on the road, and gave the man his cloak; the leprosy was instantly cured.



Name Meaning

    lover of horses (Philip)




MLA Citation

  • “Saint Philip Benizi“. CatholicSaints.Info. 6 December 2021. Web. 7 December 2021. <>