Chapter 1. Philip's last sicknesses, and the apparition of our Blessed Lady.
Chapter 2. Philip foretells his death.
Chapter 3. Philip dies in peace on the night of the Feast of Corpus Domini, on the 26th May, 1595
Chapter 4. Immediately after his death Philip appears to several persons.
Chapter 5. Of the concourse of people that came to see the Saint's body before it was buried.
Chapter 6. Of the miracles which were worked before the body was buried.
Chapter 7. Of what happened when Philip's body was opened, and of his burial.
Chapter 8. Seven years after his death the body of S. Philip is translated to his little chapel.
Chapter 9. Honours paid to Philip after his death.
Chapter 10. Of the canonization of Philip, and of the acts made for that purpose.
Philip, loaded with years and merits, was now drawing towards the close of his life. In the year before his death, during the month of April, he was attacked by a tertian fever, which lasted for several days; and he was scarcely recovered from this when in May he was seized with such excessive pains in his loins that in a few days his pulse was almost gone; he took next to no food, and could hardly speak so as to be understood. He passed his time however in the greatest peace; he made no complaint, and gave way to no restless movements of his limbs, but only kept saying in a low voice, “Adauge dolorem, sed adauge patientiam; Increase my pain, but increase my patience too.” He remained in these agonies from ten to twelve hours without the pain in the least diminishing, and suffering from a retention of urine, and about three hours before the Ave Maria the medical men, Angelo of Bagnarea and Ridolfo Silvestri, came to see him. They felt his pulse, and said that he had now but a very short time to live; they then closed the curtains and began to talk in a low voice with those who were in the room. Of these some were inmates of the house and others were strangers, but they were all spiritual children of Philip, and were all overwhelmed with grief at hearing of the approaching death of their beloved father.
They gradually became silent, and had remained so for some little time, when suddenly the Saint began to cry out with a loud voice, “He who desires any other than God deceives himself utterly, he who loves any other than God shall fall shamefully ... Ah, my Madonna, my beautiful Madonna, my blessed Madonna!” He said this with such earnestness and vehemence of spirit that he made the whole bed tremble. At hearing his voice, the medical men ran to his bed, and one of them drew the side-curtains, while the others who were in the room drew aside the curtains in front; and there they saw the holy father with his hands lifted up towards heaven, and his body raised up in the air about a foot above the bed. He kept stretching out his arms, and seemed to be embracing some one with great affection, and continued to repeat the same words, and weeping most tenderly he added, “I am not worthy, for who am I, my dear Madonna, that you should come to see me and take away my pain? and what shall I do if I get well, I who have never yet done any good?” Those who stood by were all astonished, some began to weep, others had a feeling of dread come over them, while the rest looked on attentively to see what would be the end of this sudden change. The medical men now inquired of him what the matter was, on which Philip, lying down again on his bed, answered, “Did you not see the Blessed Virgin who came to free me from my pain?” Having said these words, he seemed to return to himself, and looking round and seeing so many persons present he covered his face with the sheet and burst into tears. He remained weeping in this way for a long time, till the medical men, fearing that it might injure him seriously, besought him to stop, saying, “No more, father, no more.” Then the Saint spoke to them openly and said, “I have no longer any need of your services, the Madonna has come and healed me.” On this the medical men felt his pulse, and found that the fever had quite left him, and that he was cured; and the next morning he got up from his bed. Angelo da Bagnarea, as soon as he got home, wrote a minute account of all that had happened, and although Philip had earnestly besought the physicians not to tell any one what had occurred, they were no sooner out of the house than they began to spread the news of it abroad. It soon came to the ears of the Cardinals Cusano and Borromeo, who came immediately to congratulate the holy father, as well on having recovered his health, as on having received, as they had heard, a visit from the Madonna. They were both very urgent that he should relate his vision to them, and after much entreaty, Philip, who loved them tenderly, was prevailed on to recount it to them exactly as it had happened. Cardinal Borromeo, knowing what a consolation it would be to his Holiness Clement VIII., immediately wrote an account of it and sent it him. During the whole of that evening Philip did nothing else but recommend, not only the two cardinals, but all who came into his room, to have a great devotion towards the Blessed Virgin, and he did this with the greatest earnestness and tenderness, saying, “Know, my children, and believe me who know it, that there is no way more powerful to obtain favours from God that through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin:” and he exhorted them to say frequently those words we have already mentioned, “Virgin Mary, Mother of God, pray to Jesus for me.”
In the following year, 1595, be was again seized on the last day of March with a fever, which was so violent, and accompanied with such a shivering, that he was unable to speak a single word to the Cardinal of Verona, who had come to see him. This illness lasted during the whole of April. He had, however, prayed to God to let him say mass on the 1st of May in honour of Saints Philip and James, who were his especial patrons, and his prayer was heard, for on that morning he celebrated and gave communion to several of his spiritual children; and he seemed so strong and hearty that it was clear that God had miraculously cured him. He himself had foretold that he should recover, even when every one had given up all hopes of him; for he said to Nero de’ Neri, “I intend to give you communion on the Feast of Saints Philip and James, for I know that these saints will obtain for me the grace to say mass on that day, and I shall say mass then.” Nevertheless, out of obedience to the medical men, who advised him to wait till his health was quite re-established, he abstained from saying mass on the three following days, though he communicated every morning as usual. At the end of that time he recommenced and celebrated daily up to the 12th of May.
On this day, which is the festival of the martyrs Nereus and Achilleus and Flavia Domitilla, the patrons of the Congregation, he was suddenly seized with so violent an effusion of blood from the mouth, that he remained without any pulse and without any hopes of life. As they feared that every moment would be his last, Cesare Baronius, who was at that the superior, not being able to give him the Viaticum, administered Extreme Unction in the presence of Cardinal Frederic Borromeo. When Philip had received this Sacrament he seemed to revive a little, whereupon the Cardinal expressed a wish to give him the Viaticum with his own hand. The instant he entered the chamber, bearing in his hand the most holy Sacrament, the holy old man opened his eyes, which till then had been closed, and with great fervour of spirit cried out with a loud voice and with many tears; “Behold my Love, behold my Love; behold Him who is all my Love and all my Good; give me my Love quickly.” He said this with such affection and tenderness that it made every one weep. When the Cardinal in giving him the Sacrament pronounced those words, Domine non sum dignus, Philip repeated them with such devotion and with such a loud voice, that it seemed as if nothing ailed him, saying, “No, Lord! I am not worthy, and I never was worthy, for I have never done a single good thing.” In saying this he wept bitterly, and went on for some time uttering similar words; at the moment of receiving the communion, especially he cried out, “Come, Lord, come to me, come, O my Love;” then having communicated, he added, “Now I have received the true Physician of my soul; Vanitas Vanitatum et omnia vanitas; he who wishes for any other than Christ, knows not what he seeks nor what he wishes.” During the rest of that day he remained quite quiet and comforted. In the evening he had three or four similar attacks, during which he lost a great quantity of blood, suffering at the same time extreme pain. He was not at all disturbed at this, but raising his eyes to heaven, he said, “Praised be God, who allows me in some sense to return him blood for blood.” Seeing one of his spiritual children who was present looking very much alarmed, he turned to him and said, “Are you afraid? I have not the slightest fear.”
It was perfectly true that he had no fear, for that which, as we have said, he so ardently desired, was now approaching. These attacks were followed by a cough, with such a difficulty in breathing that the Saint frequently exclaimed, “I feel that I am dying;” and although they administered a great many remedies, nothing was of any service to him. Notwithstanding this, when the medical men came to see him on the following morning, Philip said to them, “Your services are not wanted, my remedies are a great deal more efficacious than yours, for I sent very early this morning to give alms to several religious houses, in order that they might say masses and pray to God for me; and from that time I have not vomited any more blood, I am free from pain, I have no longer any difficulty in breathing, and I feel so much better that I seem to have perfectly recovered.” The medical men felt his pulse and found that what he said was true, at which they were greatly astonished, and declared that this convalescence was nothing less than miraculous. From that day down to the 26th of May Philip enjoyed perfect health, every day he recited his Office, said mass, heard confessions, and gave communion; so that every one thought that he would live at least to the end of that year.
Long before it happened, and on many occasions, Philip foretold not only his death, but the day and the hour, the manner of it, and the place where he should be buried.
First, he predicted it by saying several times in his different sicknesses that he should not die then; and God in His goodness went on discovering to him by little and little what his intentions were concerning him. In the year 1562, lie was laid up with an excessive pain in his right arm, which brought on a fever, and at last reduced him to such a state that he was given over by his physicians, who were men of great reputation, namely, Ippolito Salviati, Stefano Carasio, and Bartolomeo Eustazio. Hereupon those who were attending him wished him to receive the Viaticum and Extreme Unction; but the Saint called Francesco Maria Tarugi and said to him, “I do not wish to neglect preparing for death (he had then just made his general confession,) but be assured that I shall certainly not die of this sickness; for God, who of His goodness has hitherto bestowed such graces on me, would not have left me so exhausted of devotion as I am now, if this were the hour of my death.” He used often to say when he was ill, that God would not let him die without first letting him know of it, and without giving him an extraordinary supply of fervour and devotion. Hence in one of his last sicknesses be said to Cesare Baronius, “Cesare, they are making great prayers for me, and yet I seem to grow no better; but on the other hand I have no feeling that I shall die;” and accordingly he recovered from that sickness. So also in the present instance, after he had received the Viaticum and Extreme Unction the fever suddenly left him, and then the pain in his arm gradually diminished; upon which he got up and returned to his ordinary employments as usual without going through any period of convalescence.
In the year 1592, about the 20th of November, he fell very ill of a fever, which lasted a long time, so that every one thought he would certainly die of it. One evening Girolamo Cordella came to see him, and on leaving him he said with great sorrow to those in the house that the father was certainly near his end. Next morning he returned to see whether the Saint was still living, whereupon Philip called him and said, “My Cordella, believe me, I shall not die this time as you think;” and so it turned out, for on the following day he suddenly recovered and returned to his usual duties.
This sickness was so serious and lasted so long, that his subjects asked him to let them go to confession elsewhere, for Christmas Day was close at hand; the Saint, however, would not allow them, but said, “Have a little patience, I myself will hear your confessions this Christmas,” and so he did.
On the last day of March in the year in which he died, he wrote to Father Flaminio Ricci Firmano, who was then at Naples, to desire him to return to Rome as soon as possible, for he wished to see him before he died. This father was very much beloved by Philip, and was the third Prefect of the Congregation after the death of the Saint. Flaminio wrote in reply, to say, that he would willingly return, but that he should be unable to do so before September; upon which Philip again desired him by all means to return immediately. He still, however, delayed, being detained by several persons of high rank, especially by the archbishop of Naples. Philip, therefore, had him again written to twice, urging him to come back, but in the second letter he said, “You will now be too late,” and so it turned out. Twelve days before his death Philip said to Nero del Nero, who was congratulating him on his having recovered his health, “My Nero, I am cured, and I feel no pain whatever, but still I have but a few days to live, and my death will be when least expected, and it will take place just at the dawn,” all of which actually came to pass. He knew so well that he should die suddenly, that he was always saying, “My children, we must die,” and he said those words so often, that many got quite tired of hearing them, and said to him, “Father, we know very well that we must die.” “That is enough,” said Philip; “I tell you that we must die, and yet you do not believe it.” At the time when he was ill of that spitting of blood which we have already mentioned, the abbato Marco Antonio Maffa said to him, “Never fear, father, God will make you live a long time yet, if for nothing else, at least for the good of others’ souls.” To which Philip re plied in his usual joking way, “If you will be good enough to enable me to live to the end of this year, you shall be handsomely rewarded.” Three years before his death he had promised Father Francesco Zazzara, who was then a youth of eighteen, that before he died he would instruct him in what he was to do, and what rules he was to observe after his death. The young man therefore often reminded him of this promise, and the Saint always replied, “Do not fear, I pray for you every day in my mass, and I will tell you whatever the Lord may please to reveal to me; do not think then that I shall die without first telling you what I want you to do; you have put your confidence in me, and therefore I do not intend that you shall be disappointed.” So that although Philip was several times in danger of death, he never said a word to Francesco till the ninth day before he died, when he suddenly called for him and told him all that he had so long promised to tell him; upon which the youth began to weep, believing that the Saint would now very shortly die, and he was not mistaken. Ten days before his death, Philip called one of the brothers, named Giovan Battista Guerra, and asked him, “What day of the month is this?” He answered, “The fifteenth.” “Fifteen,” said Philip, “fifteen and ten make twenty-five, and then I shall go.”
A few days before he died, he made them collect all his writings, letters, and memoranda, and had them all burnt; he had never done anything of this kind in all his other sicknesses, and therefore every one considered it a sign that his death was now fast approaching. So also he used often at this time to say to Father Germanico, “I have given you a great deal of trouble, but I shall not do so much longer.” One evening he took his hand and pressing it said, “O Germanico, what things I shall see ere many days are past!” He repeated this several times, so that Germanico began to grow frightened, thinking that some dreadful disaster was about to befall Christendom; but after the death of Philip, he understood what the Saint meant by those words.
On the 18th of May the same Father Germanico having to go to Carbognano, a place about a day’s journey from Rome, where the Congregation had some property, he came to the Saint for his blessing, and said, “I do not like to leave Rome, unless your Reverence will promise me that on my return I shall find you alive and well.” Philip inquired, “How long shall you be away?” To which he answered, “I shall certainly return by the day before the Feast of Corpus Domini.” The Saint remained silent for some time, after which he said, “ Go, and come back by the time you mention.” He therefore started for Carbognano, and having remained there some days, on the night before the Vigil of Corpus Domini he had a dream, in which he seemed to be in the room of the holy father at Rome, whom he saw ill in bed, and he heard Philip say to him, “Germanico, I am dying;“ to which he answered, “Father, you have often been in greater danger and God has spared you to us, and He will doubtless do the same now;” to which the Saint replied, “I am going this time.” At this moment he awoke, and fearing that Philip might really be dying he resolved by all means to set out at once for Rome, notwithstanding the earnest entreaties of the people of Carbognano that he would remain with them over the festival. He started therefore very early in the morning, and immediately on his arrival went to the Saint, whom he found alive and well, he kissed his hand, and Philip said to him, “You have done right in returning; it would have been a mistake had you remained longer:” and the following night Philip died.
On the day before the Feast of Corpus Domini he sent for Father Pietro Consolino to his room; and making him put his hand upon his breast and touch his ribs, which were broken and pushed outwards as we have described, he said to him, “Remember that you say mass for me.” Father Consolino replied that he had already done so, and that he always said mass for his Reverence when he had no other obligation; “but,” added he, “I was not aware that you were in want of it now, for you have quite recovered.” “ The mass,” said the Saint, “ that I ask of you is not the mass that you are speaking of, but the Mass of the Dead.” On the same day a woman named Bernardina, who was about eighty years of age, lay dying, and was apparently so near her end that the attendants began to prepare the water for washing the body after death, for in fact she was in her agony. The sub-curate of the parish, Father Antonio Carli, on taking his leave of her told her that he would go and recommend her to the prayers of Father Philip, which he accordingly did. Philip therefore began to pray for her, and shortly said to him, “ Go, Bernardina shall recover, and I shall die.” At the very instant that Philip began to pray for her the sick woman broke out into a sweat and soon recovered, and on the night following Philip died.
He also predicted the place where he should be buried; for one day, a short time before death, when he was talking with Father Francesco Bozzio, he said to him, “Francesco, I mean to come and take up my abode near you;” to which he replied that the room was not a suitable one for his Reverence; but Philip repeated that he was quite determined to take up his abode near him; and so in the end it turned out, for when Philip died, his body was deposited in a little chapel above the arches over the church opposite the organ on the Epistle side, which little chapel was close to the room of Father Francesco. The same day on which he died, that is, on the morning of the Feast of Corpus Christi, after having heard the confession of Francesco della Molara, he asked him about his income, what state his affairs were in, and made a number of other minute inquiries, telling him at the same time what he ought to do as well in his temporal as in his spiritual affairs, a thing which he had never done before during the whole time that Francesco had gone to confess to him. He afterwards said, “Francesco, remember that for the future you always come to the Oratory to hear the sermons, and do not forget to read spiritual books, especially the Lives of the Saints:” he then embraced him with unusual tenderness.
Giovan Battista Guerra, whom we have spoken of before, was the warden of the church; and he one day said to Philip, “We have arranged the place where the fathers and brothers of the Congregation are to be buried.” To which the Saint replied, “Have you prepared a place for me?” “Yes, Father,” said Guerra, we have prepared it just under the high altar, on the epistle side.” “But you will not leave me there,” said Philip. “Yes, we shall, Father,” said the other, “ we shall leave you there.” “No,” said Philip, “you will put me there, but you will not leave me there.” Guerra was silent; but the event proved the truth of Philip’s words, for after his death he was placed by order of Giovan Battista in the place that had been prepared for him under the high altar; but on the following day, by orders of the Cardinal of Florence and of Cardinal Borromeo, the same Giovan Battista removed the body of the Saint from that place to the little chapel we have just described.
As the time drew near when the Saint was to depart from this life, he said mass every morning with such wonderful joy and fervour, that it was evident he knew his time was short. The Feast of Corpus Christi having at length arrived (it was a festival for which he had a particular devotion) Philip gave orders very early to admit all who wanted to come to him to confession; he began very early in the morning hearing the confessions of his spiritual children, just as if he was in perfect health. He begged many of them to say a rosary for him after his death, assigning it to some as their penance; to others he gave many spiritual instructions, particularly enjoining on them the frequentation of the Sacraments, the attending sermons and reading the Lives of the Saints; he also embraced them with great affection, and caressed them in an unusual manner. The confessions being ended, he recited the Canonical Hours with extraordinary devotion, and then said mass in his little chapel two hours earlier than his usual time. At the beginning of his mass he remained for some time looking fixedly at the hill of Saint Onofrio which was visible from the chapel, just as if he saw some great vision. On coming to the Gloria in Excelsis he began to sing, which was a very unusual thing for him, and he sung the whole of it with the greatest joy and devotion. Having finished his mass he gave communion to several; and after he had made his thanksgiving, they brought him a little broth, at which the Saint said, “They think that I am quite recovered, but it is not so.” He then went again to the confessional, and received all who came with the greatest sweetness, caressing and embracing them more than usual.
Cardinal Agostino Cusano and Cardinal Federico Borromeo now came to see him on their return from the procession of the most holy Sacrament, and they remained talking of divine things with him till dinner time. As soon as the Cardinals had left him he took his usual collation, and after having reposed a short time, he said Vespers and Compline with more than ordinary devotion; the rest of the day he spent partly in receiving those who came to see him, of whom at parting he took his farewell in a very marked way, and partly in listening to the Lives of the Saints, which he had read to him, particularly that of S. Bernardine of Sienna, which he had read over to him a second time. At five o’clock Cardinal Cusano came a second time, and with him Girolamo Panfilio, at that time Auditor of the Rota, and soon after came Pinello Benci, Bishop of Montepulciano, with whom Philip said the Matins of the following day, though the rest of that day’s Office he was to finish with the angels and saints in Paradise. Having finished Matins, they left the place where they had said Office; and on the Cardinal Cusano offering to assist Philip in mounting a stair-case from the Loggia to his chamber, the Saint refused to let him, saying with a smile, “Do you think that I have not got quite strong again.” When they had entered his room Angelo di Bagnarea, the medical man, came in and said, “Why, Father, you are better than you have ever been before; for these last ten years I have not seen you in such excellent health.” The Saint afterwards heard the cardinal’s confession, and on his taking his leave, the Saint, contrary to his usual custom, accompanied him to the stair-case, pressing his hands strongly, and looking fixedly in his face as much as to say, “We shall never meet again.” During the rest of the day down to supper-time he heard several other confessions. He afterwards supped alone, as was his usual custom; after supper he heard the confessions of those fathers who were to say the first masses on the following morning. After this many of those living in the house came according to their custom for his blessing, - which he gave them, at the same time conversing with them in a familiar way with extraordinary sweetness,
At the third hour of the night he performed his usual spiritual exercises, and then got into bed in perfect health, without showing the slightest sign of sickness or infirmity. But he well knew that the hour of his death was now at hand, and therefore, as soon as he was in bed, he repeated with great earnestness those words which he had so often said of late, “Last of all, one must die.” Shortly after he inquired what time it was; he was told it was the third hour of the night. Whereupon, as if talking to himself, he said, “Three and two are five, three and three are six, and then I shall go.” He now laid himself down in the bed, and dismissed all who were with him, wishing to employ what little time remained to him in conversing with his Lord, whom he so ardently desired to meet. When it had struck five (of the night) he arose and began to walk up and down his room; on which Father Antonio Gallonio, who slept in the room below, ran up and found him lying again upon his bed, with such a violent cough and such an effusion of blood, that he had great reason to fear that it would choke him. Father Antonio asked him how he felt, and he replied, “Antonio, I am going.” Father Antonio now ran to call for assistance, and sent off for the medical men; then returning with several others to the room of the Saint he found him sitting on the bed, in which posture he remained till his death. Thinking this attack was of the same nature as the previous ones, they applied what remedies they could, and succeeded in stopping the cough, so that in about a quarter of an hour the Saint seemed to have completely recovered, and he was able to speak distinctly. He, however, knew well that the moment of his death had now arrived, and therefore he said to them, “Do not trouble yourselves with applying remedies, for I am dying.” Meantime all the fathers were called up to his room, and it seemed as if he was only waiting for them to arrive before he died.
They all knelt in front of his bed weeping, while Cesare Baronius, who was then superior, made the commendation of his soul, and being told by the medical man who stood by that the father was going, he said to him with a loud voice, “Father, are you going to leave us with out saying a word to us? give us at least your blessing.” At these words Philip lifted his hand slightly, and opening his eyes, which till then had remained closed, he raised them towards heaven, and kept them fixed there for some time; then lowering them towards the fathers who were kneeling round him he made a gentle inclination of the head towards them, as if he had obtained for them the blessing of God, and thus without another movement, but as if gently falling asleep, he expired.
At the same hour at which he died Philip appeared to many persons, and first to Teo Guerra in Siena, to whom the holy father appeared as he was lying, between sleeping and waking, and fixing his eyes on him he said, “Peace be with thee, my brother; behold, I am going to a better place.” At these words Teo Guerra awoke, and again heard them repeated three times, after which the vision disappeared. He afterwards received letters informing him that at that very time Philip had passed to a better life. Philip also appeared to a nun in the monastery of S. Cecilia in Trastevere, named Sister Ortenzia Anelli, who saw him carried by two angels in a seat covered with white, and she heard him say, “I am going to my rest; persevere in the labours of the religious life, for where I am going you also shall come, and doubt not but that I will pray to God for you much more now than formerly.” At these words she awoke full of joy, marvelling greatly at the vision. In the morning she heard the news of the Saint’s death, and perceived that it took place at the very time when she had seen the vision. He appeared at the same time to another nun, who was mistress of the novices in the convent of S. Maria Maddalena di Monte Cavallo, who on seeing him began to talk to him about her scruples, and wished to speak about the scruples of others; but the Saint said to her, “Let me go, for I cannot wait any longer, I have been detained too long by others.” At this she awoke, and in the morning she received the news of his death.
Philip appeared on the same night to another nun, named Sister Vittoria de’ Massimi, in the convent of S. Marta, who was a penitent of his, and said to her, “I have come to see you before I depart; you must not lament at losing me.” The nun replied, “Ah father, are you then going to Paradise?” At this Philip showed her a field full of thorns, saying, “If you wish to come where I am going, you must pass through this,” and immediately the nun awoke weeping and saying, “My father, I shall never see you more.” Soon after this six hours of the night struck, and from that time to morning she did nothing but recommend herself to him, feeling sure that in the morning she should hear of his death; and so impressed was she with this belief, that whoever might have told her to the contrary she would not have believed them.
At Morlupo, a place about sixteen miles from Rome, there lived a virgin of the Third Order of S. Dominic, named Sister Caterina Paluzzi, a person of great perfection, whose Life has recently been published. She only knew of the Saint by report, and had not heard of his death, when having received the communion on the morning before the burial of the Saint, and being wide awake, there appeared to her a venerable old man dressed as a priest, clothed in white and shining like the sun. He was seated in a chair, and around his chair was a great space covered with divers ornaments, on which were written in letters of gold the virtues in which this holy old man had most excelled. Around his chair but below him she saw a great number of souls of every state and condition, but none of them were so beautiful and resplendent as this old man. He was contemplating the most holy Trinity, and these souls were gazing on him. It seemed to her as if they were making a very sweet harmony like the singing and chanting of the angels, ascribing to him at the same time great glory and honour. She was desirous to know who these souls were, and she thereupon heard a voice that they were the souls of those who had been saved by means of this Saint. She related this vision to her spiritual director, Father David Negri, a Dominican, who made her give him a description of the appearance of the old man, and inquired what age be seemed to be of; all which she detailed with the utmost minuteness. The confessor hereupon showed her a portrait of the Saint which he had had taken during his lifetime; the instant she saw it she exclaimed, “This is the very same person that I saw in my Vision!”
A few days after the death of the Saint, Artemisia Cheli, a nun in the convent of the Purification at Rome, was talking to the reverend mother about the sanctity of Philip. “For my part,” said she, “I believe that Father Philip was a great servant of God; but I should like to have seen him raise the dead, give light to the blind, and make the lame to walk; I should then have formed a higher opinion of him, and would have held for certain that he is a Saint. I know that he is reported to have done many, many miracles; still, partly because I have never witnessed any, and partly because there are so many stories of this kind about, which are full of exaggerations, I am not as yet altogether satisfied about his sanctity.” The following night as she was sitting half asleep and half awake, so that she saw her sisters moving about the room, she had a vision in which she seemed to be in the church of S. Peter in Vaticano, under the cupola of which was a great platform, and on it she saw Philip; at the top of the cupola she saw a round table which shone very brightly. It seemed to her that the Saint said to her, “Artemisia, if you have not seen the things that I have done in my lifetime and since my death, see what I am going to do now.” At these words he rose from the platform, ascended to the table and disappeared. Artemisia having awoke, and having reflected on what she had seen, and also on the words she had lately used about Philip, related the whole to the reverend mother, and repented that she had spoken so slightingly of the Saint. Very probably this apparition had some reference to the fact, that the Saint would one day be canonized in S. Peter’s, after which no one would be allowed to entertain doubts as to his sanctity.
At the seventh hour of the night the body having been washed and clad in the priestly vestments, was carried into the church accompanied by all the fathers and brethren of the Congregation. The church was opened very early the next morning, and the news of his death having been spread throughout Rome, the church was quickly thronged with persons of every condition of life. The body seemed to be surrounded by an indescribable air of sanctity, and the face in particular attracted the eyes of all, for it was so beautiful that it seemed quite to shine. The funeral obsequies were performed, and the Office of the Dead was recited, after which solemn Mass of the Dead was sung, at which several prelates assisted.
Whilst they were reciting the Office of the Dead, a cleric, named Antonio Carrari, and a penitent of Philip’s, came in; he was suffering at the time from a great anxiety of mind, but putting on a cotta in order to go into choir to recite Office with the others, he earnestly recommended himself to the Saint, and was immediately delivered from it.
Many cardinals came to see his body, and among them came Cardinal Agostino Cusano, and Cardinal Frederic Borromeo, who with many tears kissed both his hands and feet. Cardinal Gabriello Paleotto also came, and saw now to his great sorrow him dead whom in his book, “De Bono Senectutis,” he had taken as a perfect example of a holy old man. Cardinal Ottavio Paravicino, who loved him tenderly, was almost inconsolable. Many of the nobility also came to the church to venerate the body of the saint, among whom was the Duchess of Sessa, the wife of the Spanish Ambassador. We must not forget to relate how Baronius, thinking within himself what kind of prayer he had better say for Philip in private, could not decide whether it would be right to say the De Profundis for him as for other deceased persons. He therefore recommended the matter to God, and begged that he would make His Will known to him; on opening his Breviary, his eye rested on these words of the Psalm, “Respice de coelo, et vide et visita vineam istam et perfice eam quam plantavit dextera tua.” The fathers therefore, at the suggestion of Baronius, made use of these words for some time privately among themselves, in order to recommend their affairs to Philip. A similar thing happened to Marcello Vitelleschi, who was lying ill in bed when the news of Philip’s death was brought to him, he also could not bring himself to say the De Profundis for him, but said the Laudate Dominum omnes gentes instead, which is usually said to commemorate the souls of infants. In the same way some religious wishing to say the Mass of Requiem for him, said the Mass de Gloria instead, and many others said the Gloria Patri at the end of the Psalms instead of, as they intended, the Requiem aeternam. The Abbate Crescenzio in saying for him, also felt a notable repugnance to say the Mass of Requiem.
Fra. Girolamo Beger, a Dominican and Preacher-general of his Order, of whom we have already spoken, preached a sermon the same day in praise of Philip, in the church of the Minerva. He said that it was unnecessary to pray for Philip dead, since he was living amidst the glories of Paradise, and that the Masses of Requiem that were said for the soul of Philip would be of avail to other souls in purgatory, but not to his. Many also said that the Pope would canonize him immediately, and that he would thus also enjoy that glory on earth, which they held for certain he was now enjoying in heaven.
During the two days in which the body remained in the church, there was a continued stream of people who came to see it, and to kiss the hands or the feet; many persons out of devotion touched the body with their rosaries, and others who could not get close to it contented themselves with kissing the bier. Some persons cut off pieces of his vestments, though the fathers did all they could to hinder this; others cut off some of his hair, or of his beard, and some cut portions of his finger-nails, which they afterwards kept by them as relics.
Many ladies came, and out of devotion drew their rings from their fingers and put them on the fingers of the Saint, after which they replaced them on their own. The flowers which were strewed over the Saint’s body were also carried off, so that they had to put fresh ones there several times, but each time they were carried off by the people.
Besides secular persons great numbers of religious also came to kiss his hands; amongst them came the Master of Novices among the Dominicans, with the whole novitiate, who standing in a circle round the bier, now took their last look at that father from whom when living they had often received such great spiritual consolation.
Among the crowd persons of every rank and condition were heard lamenting the death of the Saint, and recounting his different virtues. Some expressed their grief at losing such a wonderful example of sanctity: others, considering the great fruit that had been produced by the Exercises, not only in Rome, but also in many other parts of Christendom, declared that undoubtedly a great light of the Church of God was now extinguished. Others again said that Philip was indeed a great man, for although he had such constant intercourse with the most exalted personages and with so many of the supreme Pontiffs, yet he had lived entirely free from any spirit of ambition. Many were heard praising his great humility, which had enabled him so successfully to conceal his sanctity, and in particular to conceal the miracles which he used daily to work. Some again blessed and praised him for having instituted the Oratory; but above all, the poor lamented him, who had so frequently relieved their wants, and they were heard exclaiming that the father of the poor was dead. All, in fine, who had known him in his lifetime, when they looked upon his face, and remembered how kindly and lovingly he used to converse with them, were unable to refrain from weeping at seeing themselves hence forth deprived of this.
Whilst the holy body was thus lying exposed in the church, God was pleased to magnify his servant yet more by miracles immediately after his death. There was a boy about eleven years of age, named Agostino de Magistris, who for six or seven years past had been suffering from a scrofulous affection in his throat, for which he had been attended by all the first surgeons in Rome; he had also an ulcer inside his mouth, which extended completely across it from one side to the other. On the day of the Saint’s death this boy was at school with several others, when he heard some one say that a holy father was dead at the Chiesa Nuova, who was working miracles. Upon this he went off immediately to the church, and having with great difficulty contrived to get close up to the bier, he first made a little prayer, and then with great faith touched his throat with the hand of the Saint, and was immediately cured, so that before leaving the church he took off the plaster which he wore, and on his arrival at home there was no mark or sign of the sore to be seen, and the ulcer in his mouth had entirely disappeared. Cardinal Paleotto, when he heard of the miracle, sent for the boy, and with his own hands touched the place where the sore had been, and finding that the boy was really perfectly cured he was greatly edified, and praised the majesty of God, who is continually showing Himself to be wonderful in His saints. Agostino, on his return home, related the whole story to his mother. Now her daughter, who was younger than Agostino, had also been afflicted for six years past with a similar affection on both sides of her throat. The mother therefore took her to the Chiesa Nuova, and lifting her up on the bier she touched the child’s throat with the hands of the Saint on one side only, not being able to touch both sides because of the great crowd, and also because she had to make way for the wife of the Spanish Ambassador, who had just arrived in the church: the child’s throat, however, was immediately cured. She was also prevented thus from touching as she wished one of the child’s legs in the same way, which for two years had been so weak that the child could not stand upon it. She therefore took some of the roses from the bier, and at night made a bath with them, into which she put the child’s leg, and immediately she was able to walk and stand upon it, and the leg became quite sound and strong. Alessandro, the father of these children, who was about sixty years old, had for two months been suffering from a weakness in his eyes, which caused them to water so much that at night he could not bear a light in his room. From the quantity of moisture that constantly flowed from his eyes he feared that eventually he should become blind; on hearing of the death of Philip, however, he went off in great faith to see the body; and having taken the hand of the Saint he applied it to his eyes, which became better immediately, and without any assistance from physicians in a short time he was completely freed from the disease.
At the same time a son of Pietro Contini, named Angelo, was lying ill of a sharp fever, which was attended with great pain; the disease had taken such hold upon him that he was given over by the physicians. It happened that one of his brothers went to see the body of the Saint before it was buried, and taking some of the flowers which were strewn over the Saint’s chasuble, he returned home and placed them with great faith upon the head of his sick brother. At the same instant their mother came into the room, and seeing her son lying with his face nearly black and apparently dead, she went aside to another room to weep. Her other son followed her, and told her what he had just done with the flowers; upon this the mother returned, and found that the blackness had quite disappeared from the face of Angelo, and that it had recovered its natural expression; and whereas he had for some time neither spoken nor shown any sign of consciousness, he now began to laugh and play with his brothers, and the confessor arriving just at this moment to give him Extreme Unction, to his great astonishment found him perfectly cured. Epifania Colicchia of Recanati had been afflicted for seven months with an asthma, which was so bad that she could scarcely draw her breath, and at night she was unable to sleep, and she could not bear to lie down or to walk, and thus she remained in constant pain. On hearing that Father Philip at the Chiesa Nuova was dead and was working miracles, she set off for the church, and kneeling down there she prayed for some time, begging the Saint with many tears to restore her to health; then taking some of the roses which were strewed over the body, she applied them to her stomach and was instantaneously delivered from the asthma, and from all the pain she had till that time endured, not having applied any other remedy either before or after. At the same time she was cured of a sore which was so bad that it had made the flesh all round as black as ink, and it was attended with excessive pain. The instant the place was touched with the roses the matter began to dry up, and in a few days the spot was quite clean and pure as if there had never been any sore at all.
Maria Giustiniani, a girl of noble family, suffered from great pains in the head, which medical skill had entirely failed to cure. She was taken by her mother to see the body of the Saint, and when they got up to the bier the mother secretly cut off some of the Saint’s hair and returned home with it, feeling assured that she had now obtained a remedy for her daughter. She therefore rubbed the head of her daughter with the hair, saying, “O St. Philip, by the desire which thou always hadst to assist others, I beseech thee now to heal my daughter;” at the same instant her daughter began to amend, and in a short time was perfectly well. Dorotea Brumani had a son rather more than two years old, whose legs were so weak and his knees turned in in such a way that he was quite unable to walk, and it was necessary for him to be always carried in arms or to be sitting down; and although she had often endeavoured to make him walk, she was not even able to make him stand upright, and the various remedies which she had applied were all unavailing. She had often wished to get Philip to lay his hand on the child’s head, but had never had an opportunity still, she always entertained a firm confidence that if the servant of God were to die, and she could succeed in touching his body with her son’s legs, she should obtain his cure. Immediately, therefore, that she heard of his death, she ordered the nurse to take the child to the church, and she followed shortly after them. Having arrived at the church she took the child from his nurse’s arms, and drawing off his stockings touched the Saint’s body with both his legs, and then sent him home, while she remained in the church to pray. On her return the nurse came out to meet her, and told her that the child was walking, and the mother on entering the house found that it was so, and from that time forward the child became perfectly strong and healthy, and was ever after able to walk without feeling any weakness whatever.
Artemisia Cheli had a swelling in her left hand just at the joint, which the surgeons said was a knot or tumour, and this gradually increased in size till it became as large as an egg. She had suffered from it for two years, when on hearing of the Saint’s death she came to the church, and taking some of the roses that were strewed over the body, she began to rub the place with them, and in a short time, almost without her perceiving it, the swelling entirely disappeared.
On the evening of the 26th of May, the body having been exposed the whole day in the church, at about three hours of the night the physicians and surgeons were called in to open it, and many members of the Congregation were present: and now a wonderful thing occurred, for when in turning the body they might have seen even those parts which modesty usually conceals, the Saint with his own hand sheltered and protected himself from the eyes of the beholders in the same way as a living man would. Angelo da Bagnarea perceiving this turned full of astonishment to the bystanders, and said, “See how this father who was so chaste in life, shows himself so even after death.” The same thing had happened when the fathers were washing the body, and every one understood it to be a sign of his virginity and singular purity. They also observed that the body did not give out the slightest fetid smell as dead bodies generally do, and they were the more astonished at this because the weather was remarkably hot, indeed, many persons declared that a sweet and pleasant smell came from it. When they had opened the body they found the swelling under his left breast was occasioned by two of his ribs which were broken, as we have already mentioned in speaking of the palpitation of his heart. They found the praecordia sound and quite free from disease; his heart was unusually large; there was no water in the pericardium, and no blood in the ventricles of the heart; the great artery was of about twice the ordinary size, and from this the medical men and surgeons inferred that the ardour of his continual contemplation must have been excessive.
For the consolation of those who from their devotion to Philip were desirous of having a likeness of him, the fathers had a cast of his face taken in plaster of Paris, and from this mould many other casts were taken in wax, which were exact representations of him. Philip was of middle stature; of a fair complexion, and of a cheerful countenance; in his youth his features were very beautiful; his forehead was high and broad but not bald; his nose aquiline; his eyes small and of a blue colour, rather sunk but of a very lively expression; his beard was black and not very long, but in the last years of his life it became quite white.
The medical men having finished their operations, the body was again placed on the bier, and was exposed to the people the whole of the next day; on the evening of the 27th of May the fathers by common consent ordered that it should be placed in a common coffin, and buried in the common burying-place of the Congregation beneath the choir. Cardinal Federico Borromeo, on hearing of this, thought it was not right that so great a man should be buried in this way; he therefore remonstrated with the fathers, and also with Alessandro, the Cardinal of Florence. The latter agreed that it was not right to put him in the common burial-place, and said that even if the fathers did not wish to take on themselves to declare him to be a Saint, they ought nevertheless to have placed his body in some place apart, in order to see what God might be pleased to do with regard to the canonization of His servant. The body was therefore removed and placed in a walnut coffin, on which was a brass plate with his name engraved, and it was then deposited in a little chapel above the first arch of the nave of the church on the epistle side, as we have already mentioned, and above the coffin they built a sloping wall. It was considered very remarkable, that when they removed the body there was no offensive smell, and all his limbs were perfectly flexible, especially his hands, nor was there any sign of corruption visible; his face was very beautiful, and there appeared in it a certain grave and noble air, so that it seemed as if he were asleep.
The people immediately began to frequent the place where his body had thus been deposited, and numbers of votive offerings were placed there. Many persons perceived a very sweet fragrance proceeding from the spot, amongst others, Giulia Orsina Marchesa Rangona, a woman of great piety, who used often to come and pray to the Saint under that arch; at which times she often smelt so sweet an odour that she was greatly consoled by it. The smell was like that of roses and other flowers, which at that particular time were not in bloom. It is impossible to count the numbers who by simply visiting the tomb felt their heart lightened and their devotion greatly increased. We must not omit to relate how that eight months’ afterwards, that is to say, on the 26th of January, 1596, Cardinal Cusano having a great desire to possess some relic of Philip, obtained permission to have his praecordia, which had been buried separately, disinterred. Although they had been placed in a common earthen vessel without a lid, and covered with earth, yet when they were taken up in presence of the cardinal they were found to be quite fresh and white, without the slightest mark of corruption or any bad smell, as though they had been but just buried. They were carefully washed with rose-water, and then put to dry in the sun; portions of them were afterwards distributed to different persons, and a part was placed in a very rich reliquary of silver. Some rags also with which the holy father used to dress an issue which he had in one of his arms, exhaled a most fragrant smell, although stained with matter and blood, so that being thrown aside after his death, in order that they might be washed and afterwards kept as relics, they lay there for some time quite forgotten, but being found some time after quite foul and dirty, they gave out such a sweet smell, that instead of provoking disgust they excited great devotion as well as astonishment in the hearts of all present.
Nero del Nero had always a great devotion to the holy father, and he counted it as a great honour to have conversed with him and to have known him intimately, declaring that whenever the holy old man embraced him, which he used to do every time that he saw him suffering from any passion, he felt his heart consoled and comforted, and bursting into tears he used to find himself freed from the temptation. The same thing happened to him also many times after the death of Philip on visiting his tomb, where he used often to go and pray. This gentleman, as he was very rich and had no son, wished to make a grand coffin of silver for the holy body. The fathers first of all, therefore, thought it prudent to examine and see what state the body was in; for this purpose, on the 7th of March, 1599, after it had remained four years in the place we have described, they pulled down the wall and opened the coffin. They found the body covered with cobwebs and dust, which had got in through a crack in the lid of the coffin, caused by the moisture in the wall which had been built over it; his vestments were like so much dirt, and the chasuble had become so rotten that it all fell to pieces, and the plate on which his name was engraved was covered with verdigris, so that they expected to find his body reduced to dust. On the following evening, however, having removed all the rubbish, they found not only his legs and arms entire, but even the breast and stomach so fresh and beautiful, and the skin and flesh so moist, that every one was astonished: the breast, moreover, retained its natural colour and whiteness. This was considered by Andrea Cesalpino, Antonio Porto, and Ridolfo Silvestri, three of the first medical men of the time, to be undoubtedly miraculous; and they all three wrote upon the subject, showing that neither by nature nor by any artificial means could that body have been preserved in that manner without the especial aid of Divine Omnipotence. It was no less remarkable, that on opening the coffin and on removing the decayed vestments, no smell of putrefaction was perceived, so that the holy body, instead of exciting any horror or disgust, moved all to love, and reverence, and devotion. The Abbate Giacomo Crescenzio, one of Philip’s spiritual children, had a new coffin made of cypress wood richly adorned, and on the evening of the 13th of May the body was taken out of the old coffin and placed in the new one on a little mattress of red taffety, and covered with a quilt of the same colour. All the fathers and brethren of the house came to see the body of their holy father, weeping for joy, and congratulating one another on the possession of such a treasure. Alessandro Medici, Cardinal of Florence, Cardinal Federico Borromeo, and Cardinal Cesare Baronio, were also present. The Cardinal of Florence ordered new vestments to be made, and on the 21st of the month of May, they again clothed him in the priestly vestments, arid put on him the chasuble in which he said mass on the day he died. The same Cardinal put a garland on his head, and drawing from his own finger a pontifical ring, in which was a very fine sapphire, he placed it on the finger of Philip; he also had a quantity of artificial flowers of silk strewed over the body, and on the breast was placed a silver crucifix, presented for this purpose by Giulio Sansedonio, Bishop of Grosseto, another of the Saint’s spiritual children, and one much beloved by him. After this the holy body was again deposited in the same chapel over the arch of the church, where it remained till the 24th of May, 1602. The face having been a little injured, they had a silver mask made from the cast which had been taken, and this they put over the face, thereby verifying, though with out thinking of it, what the holy father had said on one occasion in the house of a noble man, namely, that his head should be placed in silver.
Meanwhile Nero del Nero, of whom we have just been speaking, having chosen Philip as the especial and perpetual protector of himself and his posterity, and having obtained the consent of Elizabetta, the Saint’s sister, who was then eighty-four years old, and the only heir of his house, by a public instrument and with all the necessary formalities, united his family with that of Philip, and annexed the arms of the Saint, namely, azure, three stars or, to his own. As he had no male child he had recourse to Philip’s prayers, and through the merits of the Saint, at the end of nine months God gave him a son, whom he named Philip, in acknowledgment of the grace he had received, and who was afterwards the heir to all his property, and had a very great devotion to the holy father. Moreover, out of gratitude for this and the many other benefits which he had received through the Saint’s intercession, Nero changed his design of having a silver coffin made into something which would tend more to the glory of God and to the Saint’s honour. On the 6th of July, therefore, in the year 1600, he commenced building a magnificent chapel, the same which now exists, and which he adorned with precious stones and with all possible splendour. The walls are all incrusted with jasper, agate, and other precious stones, and the cupola is support ed by four columns of alabaster, adorned with roses of mother-of-pearl and gold mouldings, with the ground of ultra-marine blue. The pavement is conformable to the cupola, and is made of roses of alabaster and other stones; in the middle is a very large green oriental jasper with other jaspers, and the vestibule of the chapel is also adorned with the same precious stones. Cardinal Francesco Maria Tarugi laid the first stone, and he placed under it twelve brass medals and one large one of silver, bearing the likeness of S. Philip, with the inscription, “B. Philippus Nerius Florentinus, Congregationis Oratorii Fundator, obiit Romae anno millesimo quingentesimo nonagesimo quinto.” A great plate of lead was put with the medals, with these words engraved on it: “This chapel was founded in honour of the Blessed Philip Neri of Florence, Founder of the Congregation of the Oratory, by Nerus de Nigris, a noble Florentine, at his own expense, in the year of the Jubilee, one thousand six hundred, in the month of July, on the octave of the feast of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, in the ninth year of the pontificate of Pope Clement VIII.”
While the chapel was in the course of erection, it pleased God to allow the child that had been obtained through the intercession of the Saint, to fall dangerously ill of the smallpox. The disease became so serious that the child lost his voice, could scarcely breathe, and was quite given over by the physicians, so that his death was hourly expected. Nero, his father, not wishing to see him die, went into another room, where, throwing himself on a bed, he exclaimed full of anguish, “O holy father, must it be then that the first ceremony in the chapel I am building in thy honour is to be the funeral of my son, and that my only one!” He had scarcely said the words when the child, as if waking out of sleep, cried out three or four times, “Papa! Papa!” The Countess of Pitigliano, his sister, who was in the room, immediately ran to her father, and brought him to the child; when the child saw him he said distinctly, so that all could hear him, “Papa, I am cured, and godfather has cured me;” for so he called the holy father, because as he was named after him in baptism they often showed him a picture of the Saint, and told him that it was his godfather. In order to make the matter more certain, they asked him if it was his godmother that had cured him, but he cried out louder than ever, “No, no, it was godfather,” and on their showing him the picture he said that this was the person he meant. When they asked him how he had been cured, the child touched his head, meaning that by touching his head the Saint had cured him. Having taken a little broth, he began to suck and then fell asleep; during his sleep a quantity of matter began to distil from his ears, showing that an abscess had burst in his head; this discharge continued for some days, after which the child became quite strong and well. This new benefit made Nero more anxious than ever for the completion of the chapel. At length, on the 24th of May, 1601, seven years after the death of the Saint, his body was translated with great reverence and devotion into the new chapel, several cardinals and prelates being present, although it was done privately and with closed doors. Early in the morning on the day appointed, which was Friday, the body was taken by a number of priests in cottas and with lighted torches, and singing psalms and hymns, and carried into the sacristy, where it remained all day surrounded by a number of lighted candles. In the evening, after the Ave, the doors were shut to avoid there being a concourse of people, though a great number were present notwithstanding, to each of whom was given a large wax taper. The body was then carried in procession round the church accompanied by numbers of priests and clerics in cottas and bearing lighted torches: the church as well as the chapel was full of lights and flowers and perfumes; immediately after the bier came Cardinal Francesco Maria Tarugi, Cardinal Cesare Baronio and Monsignor Panfilio, who was afterwards Cardinal. The body was then placed in the middle of the chapel, and after the Te Deum had been sung, and certain prayers recited, it was finally deposited in the place prepared for it in the said chapel; next morning mass was said there for the first time by Cardinal Tarugi, and from that time forward it has been said there daily.
In the year 1639, when the coffin of cypress wood was again opened, in order to take out some relics to send to the fathers of the Congregation at Naples, the holy body was again found incorrupt; after which it was inclosed in another coffin of iron, made to close in such a way that it could not be opened again, and this was then covered with silver. The following inscription was at the same time placed on the tomb: “Corpus S. Philippi Nerii Congregationis Oratorii Fundatoris Ab Ipso Dormitionis Die Annos Quatuor et Quadraginta Incorruptum Divina Virtute Servatum Oculis Fidelium Expositum A dilectis in Christo Filiis, Sub Ejusdem Patris Altari Perpetuae Sepulturae More Majorum Commendatum Est Anno Salutis MDCXXXVIII. Urbani Papae XVIII. XVI. Indictione VII. Idibus Aprilis.”
The opinion of Philip’s sanctity increased so much after his death by reason of the miracles worked through his intercession, that votive offerings began almost immediately to be sent to his tomb, although the fathers refused to receive them, and did all in their power to prevent their being sent. The Abbate Marco Antonio Maffa, Apostolic Visitor and Examiner of Bishops, sent the first offering, which he fixed up with his own hand, together with a candle. His reason for doing so was this: some few weeks after the Saint’s death he was seized with a pestilential fever and lethargy which would not yield to the treatment of the physicians. While he was lying in this state he had the following vision. It seemed that the house in which he lived was on fire, and that persons outside were trying to throw down the walls; on this two strong young men who were with him ran as quickly as they could to the door to avoid the danger, but just as they reached the door that part of the wall fell on them and killed them both. He himself was terribly alarmed, when on a sudden he saw the holy father, who seemed very angry with the others, and cried out, “Save the Abbate! save the Abbate!” at which words he seemed to be instantaneously delivered from his danger. Immediately after this vision he began to grow better, and on the following day he had perfectly recovered and was quite free from the fever. In testimony of the grace he had received, he hung up the tablet we have just mentioned over the Saint’s tomb, and underneath it he placed the following inscription:-
“J. C. R.
B. Philippo Liberatori Suo
Id. Anton. Maffa Presb. Salernit.
Non. Aug. M. D. XC. V.
Cum me febris vehementissima invassisset, videbar noctu in domo recina et incendio conclusus, nullum habens evadendi diffugium. Duo qui videbantur mecum esse, fuga sibi consulentes, a pariete oppressi mortui sunt. Dam in metu perterritus mortem expectarem, vidi at audivi B. Philippum iterato praecipientem iis qui domum disjiciebant, his verbis, Salvate Abbatem. Postridie reliquit me febris, quod illius meritis et precibus acceptum fereus, testatum volui hac tabella, in nomine Patris, et Filii et Spiritus Sancti, et ad honorem ejusdem Beati Philippi. Amen.”
The same Abbate was the first who suspended a lighted lamp before the tomb; and when it was removed by the orders of the Fathers, he went and complained to his Holiness, Clement VIII., and obtained his permission to have it restored, which it was a few days after. A noble lady, named Costanza del Drago, seeing this, also presented a silver lamp of great value, and by degrees the others were given which are now to be seen in the chapel.
The same year in which the Saint died, a portrait of him was published by the permission of superiors, with the title of “Blessed,” and surrounded with rays and representations of his miracles; his picture was also to be seen in many palaces and private houses. Many persons had copies taken from the cast which had been made of his face after death, and these they kept in their rooms with great devotion. Clement VIII. had one standing on a little table, besides his portrait, which he kept in his room covered with a veil along with several other portraits of Saints. It would be impossible to tell the number of those who immediately after his death prayed to him and honoured him as a Saint; his tomb was visited from the very first by many cardinals and prelates, by great numbers of the nobility and of persons in every rank of life. So great was the devotion they had to him, that they used to kiss the wall which contained his coffin; many of them took away with them some of the dust from the wall or from the ground in front of it; several prelates also took some of the oil from the lamp that burnt before the tomb; others carried off the flowers which were frequently strewed there, carrying them about with them as relics, and oftentimes they received great favours from the Lord by means of them. Many persons out of devotion used to come and make a visit to the tomb every day, and some of these, even persons of quality, used to come barefoot.
The year after his death, on the day of his anniversary, instead of the mass of Requiem they sung the mass of the day, and had a very grand function, at which many cardinals and prelates assisted, and there was a great concourse of people present. In the evening after Vespers there was a sermon in praise of him. Similar sermons were preached on the following day, some of them by members of the Congregation, and some by prelates and others. Three years after the Saint’s death, Clement VIII. gave permission for mass to be celebrated in the room of the holy father, which had been converted into a chapel; the same altar being placed in it at which he himself used to say mass when living. Above it was painted a picture of Philip in the act of recommending the Congregation to the Blessed Virgin, and round the walls were pictures representing some of his principal miracles, together with other ornaments. The rooms which he used to occupy at S. Girolamo della Carità were also converted into a chapel.
Many also were the encomiums paid to Philip by different writers; Cardinal Gabriello Paleotto, in his book “De Bono Senectutis,” speaking of the opinion people had of Philip’s sanctity, adds, “This much, kind reader, we had written and reduced to its present form long since, so that it only remained to be printed; when, behold, the man of God by the dispensation of him who governs all things, fell sick, although he was not thereby confined to his bed or hindered from performing his ordinary duties. On the 26th of May, however, he was suddenly taken from us, being called from his exile to enter his heavenly country. Although his death was quite unlooked for by us, still we have determined not to change the plan we had fixed on, namely, to propose this excellent old man as a living picture by which we might teach the virtues of old age; for although it is now four months since he was taken from us, and since he has disappeared from our eyes as one that is dead, he still is living in heaven the life of the living, as his holy and wonderful words testify: he still lives here on earth in the memory of the just and good, above all in this city of Rome, where he has left so many spiritual children whom he has begotten in Christ.” Farther on he adds, “Wherefore hoping that by reason of the many wonderful works that he has done and is doing, his name will every day become more known and better known to all, we have had his likeness here engraved, both for the consolation of those who knew and loved him as their father in Christ, and also in order that those who shall hereafter hear of his name, may become the more inflamed with a desire to imitate him; and, finally, in order that those who come after us may have perpetually before their eyes a picture, by looking on which they may learn to know the virtues of old age, and knowing them may pay them due respect.” Thus far Cardinal Gabriello Paleotto.
Cardinal Frederico Borromeo, in a letter to Father Antonio Gallonio, writes as follows: “You know how much I honour this Saint, you know my love for him. Since his death this has not diminished but increased, and if necessary I would shed my blood for his sake.” Cardinal Agostino Cusano says of him, “Thus it hath pleased God, after eighty years spent in His service, to call to Himself that holy soul adorned with so many Christian virtues. We may apply to him those words of scripture: ‘Qui ad justitiam erudiunt multos, fulgebunt quasi stellae in perpetuas aeternitates;’ and also those words of the Psalm, ‘Longitudine dierum replebo eum, et ostendam illi salutare meum.’” This Cardinal’s devotion towards the Saint was so great, that in addition to the many tokens he gave of it in his lifetime, he began his will when on his death-bed with these words: “First, I commend my soul with all humility of heart into the hands of our most merciful Lord Jesus Christ, and to the hands of His most holy Mother the Virgin Mary, to the glorious princes of the apostles saints Peter and Paul, S. Augustine and S. Francis, and to the Blessed Philip, and to all the saints; in order that it may be made worthy of the divine mercy, and of their fellowship in the life to come,” &c.
Cardinal Ottavio Bandini, beholding in Philip, as it were at one view, all the virtuous actions which he performed during his whole life, speaks of him as follows: “It seems to me that in Philip were united all the good qualities, all the virtues, all the prerogatives, and all the circumstances, which we are accustomed to admire separately in the lives and deaths of the other Saints canonized by the Holy Church.” Cardinal Cesare Baronio also in his Annotations to the Martyrology under the 23rd of August, speaking of S. Philip Benizi of Florence, the Institutor of the Order of Servites, takes occasion to praise Philip, by saying, “The city of Florence is adorned with two Philips, the one the Institutor of the Servites, the other the Founder of the Oratory, and the many miracles which are worked daily at the intercession of the latter, show clearly that he too as well as the first is reigning gloriously in heaven.” Cardinal Girolamo Panfilio says of him, “Every day the fame of this blessed father increases through the great number of miracles which are worked in favour of those who invoke him; I myself in particular am daily receiving favours from him, and I trust that he will constantly assist me for the future in everything; for I have put myself completely and entirely under his protection, and from the bottom of my heart I beg him to take charge is of me.”
Many others wrote concerning the virtues of Philip, in particular Rutilio Benzoni, Bishop of Loreto and Recanati, in his book, De Anno Sancto Jubilaei; and Giovan Battista del Tufo, Bishop of Cerra, in the Annals of the Clerks Regular; Don Silvano Razzi, in his Collection of the Lives of the Saints of Tuscany, inserted at the end that of the Blessed Philip. The same was done by Alfonso Vigliega, in his Collection of the Lives of the Saints. Father Arcangelo Giani, of the Order of Servites, speaks in praise of Philip in his Life of S. Philip Benizi; so also does Tommaso Bozzio, in his book, De Signis Ecclesiae Dei, et de ruinis gentium; and also Francesco Bocchi, in his Praises of Celebrated Persons born in Florence. His Life was also translated into several languages, amongst others into the dialect of Castile, by Monsignor Lodovico Crespi, Bishop of Placenza, who was Ambassador Extraordinary from his Catholic Majesty to his Holiness Alexander VII., and who was very instrumental in obtaining the bull which that Pope issued concerning the Conception of the Blessed Virgin. In the year 1665, Monsignor Andrea di Saussay, Bishop and Count of Tulle, published a Latin Compendium of the Saint’s Life, together with some very erudite annotations on the bull of his canonization; besides many other translations by different persons, which to avoid tediousness I omit.
Many memorials of him were also set up, in particular Guilio Sansedonio, afterwards Bishop of Grosseto, and at that time presiding over the church of San Girolamo della Carità, had a representation of S. Philip in the act of recommending his spiritual children to the Blessed Virgin, painted in the Cortile of that place. Under it he placed the following inscription: “Beato Philippo Nerio Florentino. Ut ubi triginta tres annos eximia sanctitatis et miraculorum laude claruerat, innumerisque ad Christi obsequium traducti s, prima Congregationis fundamenta jecerat, ibi aliquod ejus rei monumentum extaret; Templi hujus domus, ac Sacerdotum Deputatus annuente pissima Congregatione Charitatis, Parenti in spiritu optimo benemerenti posuit. Kal. Septembris MDCV.” At the same time many offerings were sent to his tomb. Cardinal Agostino Cusano sent a pall of brocade to adorn it. Alfonso Visconte, Bishop of Cervia, and after cardinal, also sent a very rich piece of drapery for the same purpose; it was of crimson velvet, embroidered with gold and worked with flowers, being part of the spoils taken from Sisan Bassà, the Turkish admiral. In consequence of the ever-increasing opinion of the sanctity of Philip, the Roman people ordered by a public decree, that every year on the 26th of May, that being the Feast of the Saint, the magistrates should solemnly present a silver chalice and four torches in his chapel. Duke Maximilian of Bavaria also sent a lamp of silver worth a thousand scudi, to burn for ever before his tomb, as it does to this day. Charles of Lorraine sent another of great value, and many other precious gifts have been made by different cardinals, prelates, and others.
Five years after the death of Philip, his Life, in which he was entitled Blessed, was published by permission of Pope Clement; it was written in Latin and in the Vernacular, and was composed by Father Antonio Gallonio. The same Pope Clement used to take great pleasure in hearing it read to him. Besides this it was approved by many of the cardinals, who subscribed these words: “All the things which are here related of the Blessed Philip Neri, I, N. declare in part to have witnessed with my own eyes, and in part to have learnt upon the undoubted testimony of grave and trustworthy persons,” &c.
On the death of Clement VIII. he was succeeded by Leo XI., who when he was urged to canonize S. Charles, especially by Cardinal Baronio, replied that he was willing to canonize S. Charles, but that he wished also to canonize the Blessed Philip. Inasmuch, however, as God had granted him only a short life, he was unable to carry out his wish. After him Paul V. was raised to the Pontificate, and he showed in what veneration he held the Saint by beatifying him, as we shall see in the following chapter, and by granting his Office and Mass to all the Congregations, on which occasion his picture painted by Guido Reni was exposed in his chapel in the position in which it is to be seen at this day, to the great consolation of the holy father’s children, who had so much desired it; besides which, long before he beatified him, the same Pope several times granted, vive vocis oraculo, a plenary indulgence on the day of his feast. The devotion which Gregory XV. had for Philip was well known to all who conversed with him about the Saint when he was Auditor of the Rota; after he was made Cardinal he said once in a letter, that if it should ever please the Divine Majesty to raise him to the See of Peter, he would certainly canonize Philip, which he accordingly did.
In order to give a clear account of the progress and order of the canonization of Philip, so that all who read his Life may see with what caution and discretion the Holy Roman Church proceeds in the canonization of saints, we will here make mention of all that was done in the matter from the time of Philip’s death to the day when he was inscribed in the Catalogue of Saints by Gregory XV. of glorious memory.
Shortly after the death of Philip several per sons, and in particular the Abbate Marco Antonio Maffa, being moved by the constantly increasing opinion of his sanctity, in consequence of his virtues and miracles, earnestly besought his Holiness that he would allow a Process to be formed relating to the actions, virtues, and miracles of Philip. In reply to this Clement VIII., who was then Pope, crossing his hands three times on his breast, uttered these formal words: “We hold him to be a saint.” Shortly after this he gave orders, vive vocis oraculo, to Lodovico de Torres, at that time Archbishop of Monreale, and afterwards Cardinal, and to Audoeno Lodovico, Bishop of Cassano, both of them Apostolic Visitors, that they should have a Process formed upon the virtues and miracles of Philip. These last, at the instance of Cardinal Agostino Cusano, and of Cesare Baronio, at that time Superior of the Congregation, ordered Giacomo Buzio, a canon of S. John Lateran and notary of Cardinal Girolamo Rusticucci, the Pope’s vicar, to examine witnesses and receive evidence for that purpose.
The first Process, then, was commenced on the 2nd of August, 1595, that is, two months after the death of the Saint, and the examination was continued with the greatest diligence and accuracy down to the 1st of June, 1601. At that time Giacomo Buzio died, and Cardinal Francesco Maria Tarugi, Cardinal Cesare Baronio, Apostolical Librarian, and Flaminio Ricci, Superior of the Congregation, made fresh entreaties that the Process which had been commenced might be carried on and completed, so that it might be laid up in the Vatican Library as a perpetual memorial of the sanctity of Philip.
On the 8th of February, therefore, 1605, Cardinal Camillo Borghese, who was then the Papal Vicar, and afterwards Paul V., gave orders to his notary, Pietro Maggiotti, to go on receiving evidence, and to bring the said Process to a conclusion. He accordingly began to examine witnesses on the 12th of February, 1605, and on the 21st of September in the same year the Process was completed. In the course of it more than three hundred and sixty persons were examined on the usual oath, among whom were cardinals, prelates, and other persons of title. It was laid up by Cardinal Baronio in the Vatican Library. This is the first Process, made as they say with ordinary authority.
The first Process having been completed, in the year 1608 Charles Gonzaga, Duke of Nevers, came to Rome as Ambassador Extraordinary to his holiness, Pope Paul V. from his most Christian Majesty King Henry IV.; and he went to visit the tomb of the Blessed Philip, because he had at one time gone to confession to him, and because he knew him to be a man of eminent holiness, having become acquainted with him when he came to Rome with his father in the time of Clement VIII. Out of devotion he took some of his relics away with him, and wishing to leave some farther mark of the love he bore him, he entreated the Pope to allow the fathers of the Congregation of the Oratory to celebrate the Mass, and say the Office of the Blessed Philip. The Pope lent a willing ear to his request, and ordered Cardinal Domenico Pinelli to lay the matter before the Sacred Congregation of Rites. This having been done, on the 10th of January, 1609, the Congregation unanimously agreed that as this was a very grave matter, and, as it were, a private canonization, he should first speak with his holiness, from whom they then procured a Brief directed to the said Congregation, empowering them to revise and consider afresh the first Process, which had been made with the ordinary authority, and also giving them faculties to form the other Processes with apostolic authority, tam in genere quam in specie, as well in Rome as elsewhere.
At this time fresh entreaties were made for the canonization of Philip by different princes and potentates of Christendom; by Louis XIII. the most Christian king of France, by Mary de’ Medici his mother, by the illustrious senate and people of Rome, by Ferdinand I. Grand Duke of Tuscany, and after his death by Cosimo his son, by Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria, by Charles Gonzaga, Duke of Nevers, of whom we have just spoken, and by Catherine of Lorraine his wife, and also by the Congregation. The Pope assented, and by an Apostolic Brief, dated 13th April, 1609, committed the cause to the Sacred Congregation of Rites. On the 9th of May, in the same year, the Congregation ordered that the second Process, which is called “in genere,” should be made, and appointed Cardinal Girolamo Panfilio, the Pope's vicar, to undertake it. This Process was finished and presented to the Congregation on the 20th of June the same year, by whom it was committed to Cardinal Robert Bellarmine to read, and after having well considered it, to report whether they could lawfully proceed and form the third Process, which is called “in specie.” He performed his task with all diligence, and the Congregation passed a decree accordingly on the 26th of June, 1609, and Cardinal Domenico Pinello, Bishop of Ostia, and head of the Sacred Congregation, made a full report of the proceedings to Paul V.
The second Process, which, as we have said, is called “in genere,” having been made on the 14th of August, in the same year, the Sacred Congregation decreed that the third Process which is called “in specie,” should be formed. But since it was considered right that the said Process should be formed by three auditors of the Rota, as had been done in the canonization of S. Francesca and S. Charles, the Pope, by a new rescript of the 7th of July, 1610, committed the cause to three auditors of the Rota, namely, to Francesca Pegna Decano, Orazio Lancellotto, and Dionisio Simone di Marcomonte, who was Archbishop of Lyons and afterwards Cardinal; ordering that either all or at least two of them should form the said Process “in specie,” granting them letters remissorial and compulsory to examine and form Processes as well in Rome as out of it for the canonization of Philip. Towards the end of the Process Orazio Lancellotte was made cardinal, and Alessandro Lodovisi was therefore substituted in his place, who himself was afterwards made Cardinal and Archbishop of Bologna, and eventually was assumed to the Pontificate under the name of Gregory XV. On the 19th July, 1610, the said auditors began to form the Process in the sacristy of San Luigi de’ Francesi.
This third Process, called “in specie,” having been completed with all the necessary formalities, and the Processes that had been drawn up out of Rome having also been brought to a conclusion, fresh entreaties being also made by the above-mentioned princes and potentates, on the 4th of October, 1612, a summary account of the said Processes was laid before the Pope Paul V., by Cardinal Alessandro Lodovisi, Archbishop of Bologna, who still held the office of Auditor of the Rota, and Dionisio Simone Marcomonte, Archbishop of Lyons. The Pope sent their report to the Sacred Congregation of Rites, and they on the 20th of November, in the same year, again referred the cause to Cardinal Bellarmine in order that with the aid of the advocate Giovan Battista Spada Fiscal Procurator and Promoter of the Faith, he might diligently examine the report which had been made to Paul V., and at the same time the Processes were exhibited to all the cardinals of the Congregation, in order that they might with the greater exactness test the truth and sincerity of the report. This having been done, the said Congregation in eight sittings at different times between the 5th of June, 1614, to the 14th of April, 1615, finally resolved that there was full and sufficient evidence of the validity of the Processes and of the miracles and virtues of the servant of God, Philip Neri.
After this a report was carried to the Pope, showing that the Congregation of the Oratory desired leave to recite the Office and to say the Mass of the said servant of God; and the Pope ordered the Sacred Congregation of Rites to consider what it was expedient to do in the case. On the 9th of May, 1615, the Sacred Congregation made a decree, declaring that the prayer of the fathers of the Oratory might be granted, and Cardinal Antonio Maria Gallo, then head of the said Congregation of Rites, made a report accordingly to the Pope. He, therefore, in a secret Consistory on the 11th of May in the same year, by the unanimous vote of the cardinals, confirmed this decree of the Sacred Congregation, and on the 25th of the same month, as appears by the brief of that date, the same Pope, Paul V., declared by apostolic authority, that Philip was of the number of the Blessed; at the same time he granted permission to the fathers of the Oratory to recite the Office and say the Mass of the Blessed Philip, and this permission was also granted to all who might be present at their church. In the following year this permission was extended to other Congregations of the Oratory, out of Rome, as appears by an Apostolic Brief, dated the 19th of March, 1616. In the year 1621, Gregory XV. granted in addition a perpetual plenary indulgence to all who should devoutly visit the church of the Vallicella on the day of his feast.
After the death of Paul V. Gregory XV. was raised to the Pontificate, and the Congregation of the Oratory, and many of the princes already mentioned, and in particular the Roman and Florentine cardinals, made fresh entreaties that he would be pleased to carry on and complete the canonization of Philip. The Pope, therefore, who had himself a particular affection for Philip, on the 22nd of May, in the year 1621, committed the cause again to the Sacred Congregation of Rites, who, on the 10th of July in the same year, appointed Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, to propose the first doubt upon the validity of the processes that had already been made, and on the 7th of August following, this doubt having been accurately examined and discussed, with the assistance of Giovan Battista Spada, Advocate of the Consistory, as Promoter of the Faith, the Congregation resolved unanimously that there was ample evidence of the validity of the Processes.
After this, Cardinal Bellarmine proposed the second doubt, namely, whether from the Processes which had now been several times revised and approved as valid, they might rightly conclude that the sanctity of Philip was sufficiently proved, so that he might be canonized. Three Congregations were held upon this doubt, the first on the 4th of September, 1621, in which it was resolved that there was sufficient evidence of the report of Philip’s sanctity, and sufficient evidence of his virtues “in genere” and “in specie” of Faith, Hope, and Charity. On the 17th of September, in the same year, Cardinal Bellarmine was taken from this world to a better, Cardinal Pietro Paolo Crescenzio was therefore appointed in his place; and on the 25th of the same month the second Congregation was hold, in which it was likewise resolved, that there was sufficient evidence “in specie” of the other virtues and gifts, as for example, Humility, Virginity, the gift of Prophecy, of Perseverance, &c. The third and last Congregation was held on the 13th of November, in which it was declared that the miracles mentioned in the Processes were fully proved, and consequently that the sanctity of Philip was established, and that he might deservedly be canonized and inscribed among the number of the Saints. The proceedings of the said Congregations having been terminated, a report of them was made to the Pope. His Holiness had for some time past determined to canonize the Blessed Isidore Agricola, and now great entreaties were made that he would canonize at the same time the Blessed Ignatius, Xavier, Theresa, and Philip. The Pope therefore charged the Sacred Congregation of Rites to consider whether it would be well and expedient to canonize these five at the same time. The Congregation in two sittings, held on the 22nd of December, 1621, and the 3rd of January, 1622, respectively, resolved, that if it pleased his Holiness he could and might canonize them all five together, and that it would be more expedient to do it in this manner than to canonize them one by one. On receiving the report of this resolution the Pope was greatly rejoiced.
It is the custom of the Holy Roman Church to hold three Consistories before coming to the act of canonization, in order that all the cardinals and prelates who have to give their votes may be fully informed of the case. The first of these is called secret, the second public, and the third semi-public. As the Sacred Congregation of Rites had now declared that it would be advisable to canonize all the five at the same time, the usual Consistories were therefore summoned. On the 19th of January, 1622, the first secret Consistory was held, in which Cardinal Francesco Maria, the head of the Sacred Congregation, presented the report for the canonization of the Blessed Isidore, Ignatius, and Xavier, a printed copy of which was given to all the cardinals. On the twenty- fourth of the same month the secret Consistory was held for the canonization of the Blessed Theresa and Philip, and the report was presented by the same cardinal, and a printed copy of it was likewise given to each cardinal; by this means the Sacred College was well informed of all the particulars of the case before them, and seeing that all the necessary conditions for the canonization of the Saints had been exactly complied with, they decided that if it seemed fit to his Holiness he might proceed to canonize them.
On the 27th of January, in the same year, the second Consistory, which is called public, was held for the canonization of the Blessed Isidore Agricola, Ignatius, and Xavier, at which Fausto Caffarelli, Consistorial Advocate and Vicar of the Chapter of S. Peter’s, made the Latin oration for the Blessed Isidore; and Niccolò Zambecarri, Consistorial Advocate and Secretary to the Congregation of Bishops, made the oration for the Blessed Ignatius and Xavier.
On the 1st of February, the public Consistory for the canonization of the Blessed Theresa and Philip was held, at which Giovan Battista Mellino, Consistorial Advocate, made the accustomed oration for the Blessed Theresa; and Giovan Battista Spada, then coadjutor of his uncle Spada, the Consistorial Advocate, and afterwards cardinal, made the oration for the Blessed Philip; to each of which Giovanni Ciampoli, Secretary of Briefs to Princes, replied in the name of his Holiness, as he had done to the others. At the end the Pope exhorted all the cardinals and prelates by almsgiving, fasting, and prayer to invoke the assistance of God, in order that His Divine Majesty might be pleased to direct him to that which would be to the greater glory and profit of Holy Church.
The third and last Consistory, which is called semi-public, was held for the Blessed Ignatius and Xavier on the 6th of February, and on the twenty-eighth of the same month, for the Blessed Theresa and Philip, at which there were present thirty-two cardinals, one patriarch, nine archbishops, and eighteen bishops, together with some protonotaries, the Auditors of the Rota and the Procurator Fiscal. The doors being closed, his Holiness delivered a short and pious discourse with reference to the matter concerning which they were assembled, after which the votes were taken, and it was agreed that his Holiness might deservedly canonize the five. The Pope therefore, with the advice and consent of the aforesaid voters in two Consistories, determined to canonize them, and having exhorted all to have recourse to almsgiving, fasting, and prayer, he declared his intention to celebrate the canonization on the Feast of S. Gregory the Great, the twelfth of March, 1622; on which day with the applause of all Philip was inscribed, together with the other four, in the number of the Saints, in the church of S. Peter, and with the usual ceremonies.
The decree of the canonization having been promulgated, and the ceremonies employed by the Church on these occasions having been performed, the hymn Te Deum Laudamus was solemnly sung, and the assistance of God having been sought through the intercession of the five Saints, the Supreme Pontiff recited a prayer in common to all five, and then celebrated solemn mass at the altar of the apostles. He also granted a plenary indulgence to all who having confessed and communicated were present at that function.
The same evening a Capuchin was praying in the chapel where Philip’s body was lying, when suddenly the newly canonized Saint appeared to him, as it were, in triumph; his face was of exceeding beauty, arid he was clothed in a rich mantle; he was attended by a holy company who stood round him in a circle. The religious was not in the least alarmed, but taking confidence from the kindness which appeared in the countenance of the aged Saint, he ventured to ask him what was the meaning of that illustrious suite that accompanied him. The Saint with a benignant smile told him that it was composed of the fathers and brethren of the Oratory, and of seculars who had followed his holy institute, and had frequented his holy exercises, and that among them were five who were not members of the Congregation, but brothers of the little Oratory, all of whom he had that day liberated from Purgatory by his intercession, and he was now conducting them to Paradise. He also charged him to tell the fathers and brothers of the Congregation, and also the secular brethren of the little Oratory, that they were to observe in all things the holy institute he had left them, for that it was pleasing to the Divine Majesty that the fathers should treat all alike, both rich and poor, and that both the fathers and the lay-brothers should be treated in the same way, because they were all his children; he likewise ordered him to tell them for their consolation, that up to that day, by the grace of God, not one of the Congregation who had died had been lost, but each one had been saved. Another Capuchin on the following Sunday saw the picture of the Saint over the altar of the Oratory raise his hand and bless the Congregation and all the brethren of the Oratory.
The devotion to S. Philip rapidly spread through all Christendom; in many cities of Italy and elsewhere there were grand festivals and processions in honour of him. In Spain in particular, in the city of Madrid, at the procession of the Five Saints, Elizabeth, the Queen of Spain, with her own hands adorned the statue of Philip with a beautiful chasuble richly decked with diamonds. Pope Urban VIII. granted the Office of S. Philip as a semi-double ad libitum to the whole Church; Innocent X. made it of precept; and Clement IX, in 1669 raised it to a double of precept for the whole Church. Alexander VIII. granted the proper mass for the Saint for the whole Church, and Benedict XIV. in 1745 approved of the proper office of the Saint for the kingdom of Portugal, and it has since been extended to many congregations and dioceses. Altars and churches have been erected in his honour in many places, and many have chosen him as their advocate and protector. The Dominican fathers have decreed that throughout their order his feast is to be observed as a double; and Clement IX. from his singular devotion towards the Saint, on the 8th of June, 1669, ordered that for the future the Feast of S. Philip should be observed throughout the Catholic Church. Many cities have also ordained that his Feast shall be observed yearly as a feast appointed by the Church. Meantime the goodness of God was continually co-operating towards the increase of this devotion by the many miracles and graces which He bestowed on those who in any way recommended themselves to the intercession of the Saint, as will be related at the end of the Sixth Book. Finally, Benedict XIII., out of gratitude to the Saint for the singular favours he had received from him, especially for his miraculous preservation by the Saint in an earthquake, as we shall relate hereafter, commanded in 1726 that his Feast should be observed in Rome as of precept.
Thus, what the Saint had often foretold in his lifetime was fully verified; for he used to say, “You will one day see my body treated with the same honour that the bodies of the Saints are treated with, and you will see votive offerings sent to my tomb.” On another occasion, when he was asked to go to Florence, at least to see his native town again, he replied, “I shall be tied up at Florence;” the meaning of these words was not understood till his standard was fixed up in the church of Santa Maria del Fiore in that city. Indeed, like another S. Peter, he promised some of his friends that he would pray for them after he had left his earthly tabernacle, telling them frequently that they might be certain that although he was dead he had gone to a place where he could render them much greater assistance. He also promised some of his friends that he would be present at their death; he made this promise in particular to Costanza del Drago, saying, “Do not fear, do not fear, I will never abandon you; I will do for you what S. Francis and S. Clare have done for those devoted to them.”
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