He spent his youth at Castellazzo, in Lombardy, where his parents had taken up their residence when Paul was only ten years old. It is to Castellazo we have to turn our thoughts for the beginnings of the Passionist Congregation.
There Paul received his inspirations concerning the work for which God destined him.
I felt the words come from my heart" (see "Life of St. In 1725 when on a visit to Rome with his brother John Baptist, his constant companion and co-operator in the foundation of the institute, Paul received from Benedict XIII vivae vocis oraculo , permission to form a congregation according to these Rules.
These two Bulls of Clement XIV and Pius VI gave canonical stability to the institute, and are the basis and authority of its rights and privileges.
After the congregation had been approved by Benedict XIV many associates joined St.
Otherwise the congregation could not have been established or maintained in these countries.
Wherever houses and churches of the congregation exist, the fathers are always ready to preach, to instruct, and to hear the confessions of all persons who may have recourse to them.
The conditions for the reception of novices are, besides those common to all religious orders: (1) that they be at least fifteen years of age, and not over twenty-five (from this latter the father general can dispense for any just and sufficient reason); (2) that they show special aptitude for the life of a Passionist; (3) if they are to be received as clerics they must have made due progress in their studies and show the usual signs of vocation to the priesthood.
After profession and the completion of their classical and intermediate studies, the students take a seven years' course of ecclesiastical studies under the direction and tuition of professors, or lectors as they are called, in philosophy, theology, Holy scripture etc., and when they have passed the required examinations they are promoted to Holy orders sub titulo Paupertatis.
"I began", he says, "to write this holy rule on the second of December in the year 1720, and I finished it on the seventh of the same month.
And be it known that when I was writing, I went on as quickly as if somebody in a professor's chair were there dictating to me.
To this end the Passionists at their profession add to the three usual religious vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, a fourth--to promote to the utmost of their power, especially by such means as their rules point out, a devotion to the Passion of Our Divine Saviour.