St. Vincent Mary Strambi was born in the city of Civitavecchia, north of Rome, on 1 January 1745. As a young priest, he entered the Passionist Congregation and was received by our Founder, Saint Paul of the Cross.
Vincent was one of the greatest missionaries of the century. He tirelessly devoted himself to promote Christian life among the people of his time. He preached about the Passion of Jesus throughout almost the entire country of Italy. At the request of the Pope, he often preached in the city of Rome to the local clergy and in particular to the cardinals, bishops and prelates of the Roman curia and the papal court. He was known as “the holy Passionist preacher”. Vincent also wrote books on the lives of the saints and the spiritual life, including one on the Precious Blood to which he had special devotion.
He was an eminent spiritual director guiding, among others, Saint Gaspare Del Bufalo, Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, Venerable Maria Luisa Maurizi and Maria Clotilde Adelaide of Savoy.
He was appointed bishop of the Italian cities of Macerata and Tolentino where, with tireless apostolic zeal, he worked to reform the clergy and the people, proving to be a true Shepherd of his flock. He was a gentle although demanding father. He led a poor and penitential life. The poor were his constant concern. “They are my supervisors”, he said. “I am their treasurer”. His expression: “Hear the clamor of the poor”, was well known. During the political upheavals of the time, he was a fearless advocate for the freedom of the Church, preferring an unjust and painful exile to the unlawful oath of allegiance in accord with the political machinations of Napoleon.
When he returned to his diocese after nearly six years of exile spent in Novara and Milan he acted with even pastoral zeal. He strongly opposed the invasion of Macerata by foreign troops earning him the title of “father of the city”. In 1823, Pope Leo XII reluctantly accepted his resignation as bishop of the diocese, a request that he made on numerous occasions. However, the Pope wanted him to be him for spiritual support and as his adviser and confessor. Vincent died in Rome on January 1, 1824, having offered his life to the Lord in place of that of the Pope who was seriously ill. He was declared a Saint in 1950 and his relics now rest in Macerata, the city where he was a zealous pastor for twenty-two years.
All-powerful and ever-living God, you made your bishop Saint Vincent Mary a devoted shepherd of your flock and a faithful servant of the Church. Strengthen us by his example to love our neighbor and work for justice as members of your Church. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.