- (1515–95)Saint and Order Founder.Philip Neri was born in Florence, but at the age of eighteen, he settled in Rome. There he led a highly disciplined life, supporting himself by tutoring, but dedicating his spare time to prayer, study and works of charity. In 1544 he had a significant religious experience and in 1548 he became a cofounder of the Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity, which provided a refuge for pilgrims. He was ordained as a priest in 1551 and went to live in a clergy house at San Girolamo. This was the beginning of the Congregation of the Oratory. The Oratorians remain a congregation of secular priests, living without vows, but in community. They support themselves and provide services, sermons and guidance for those who seek them out. The congregation was formally approved by Pope Gregory XIII in 1575. Philip himself was a delightful person, gentle, kind and amusing. He was the bestknown spiritual director of his day and was regarded as a saint even in his lifetime.A. Capecelatro, The Life of St Philip Neri, Apostle of Rome, 2 vols (1882);M. Trevor, St Philip Neri (1966).
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