About St. Philip Benizi
St. Philip Basilica High School Gaels Alumni Association
About St. Philip Benizi
This page contains historical information about St. Philip Benizi, our patron saint.
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About Our School
This information contained in this box is linked to the History Page, of our web site. Information is provided about the rich History of St. Philip Basilica High School & our connection with the basilica. Read more...
About Our Alumni
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Annual Alumni Banquet
The information contained in this box is linked to our Annual Banquet page, with information about our upcoming Annual Banquet, always held on the First Friday in May of each year. Read more...
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Our last banquet, held on Friday, May 6, 2016, was again very successful, with more then 150 attendees. Our next banquet will be held, as always, on the first Friday in May, this year on Friday, May 5, 2017. Read more...
About Our Patron Saint
St. Philip Benizi:
St. Philip Benizi was born to Italian Nobility, on August 15, 1233, the Feast of the Assumption, in the district of Oltrarno, in Florence, Italy. That same day the Order of Servites was founded by the Mother of God. As an infant at the breast, Philip broke out into speech at the sight of these new religious, and begged his mother to give them alms.
St. Philip studied medicine at Paris, France and Padua, Italy receiving his doctorates in medicine and philosophy by age 19.
Amidst all the temptations of his youth, he longed to become himself a servant of Mary, and it was only the fear of his own unworthiness, which made him yield to his father’s wish and begin to practice medicine for about a year. Alter long and weary waiting, his doubts were solved by Our Lady herself, who in a vision bade him enter her Order, and he quit his medical practice. Still Philip dared only offer himself as a lay brother, of the Servites at Monte Senario in 1254, and in this humble state he strove to do penance for his sins. He was ordained at Siena, Italy in 1258, and initially 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.
In spite of his reluctance, he was promoted to the post of master of novices at Siena, in 1262; and as his rare abilities were discovered daily. He was 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 conversion in Peregrine Laziosi, who later became a Servite saint. His preaching restored peace to Italy, which was wasted by civil wars; and at the Council of Lyons, he spoke to the assembled prelates with the gift of tongues. Thenceforth, honors were heaped upon him; he eventually, but reluctantly became general of the Order, and only escaped by flight elevation to the Papal throne.
He became superior of several Servite friaries; elected prior-general of the order on June 5, 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. He 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.
Amid all these favors Philip lived in extreme penitence, constantly examining his soul before the judgment-seat of God, and condemning himself as only fit for hell. He was a miracle worker and healer. He once met a leper on the road, and gave the man his cloak; the leprosy was instantly cured. St. Philip, though he was free from the stain of mortal sin, was never weary of beseeching God’s mercy. From the time he was ten years old he said daily the Penitential Psalms. On his death-bed he kept reciting the verses of the Miserere, with his cheeks streaming with tears; and during his agony he went through a terrible contest to overcome the fear of damnation. But a few minutes before he died, all his doubts disappeared and were succeeded by a holy trust. He uttered the responses in a low but audible voice; and when at last the Mother of God appeared before him, he lifted up his arms with joy and breathed a gentle sigh, as if placing his soul in her hand. He died on August 22, 1285,the Octave of the Assumption, at Todi, Italy, where he is buried.
Philip was beatified by Pope Innocent X on October 8, 1645, and was the first Servite to be canonized, coming on April 12, 1671, by Pope Clement X.
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