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Lives of Saints

Saint Philip Neri

Born: July 22nd, 1515     Died: May 27th, 1595
Feast Day: May 26th

What he said

"Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in a good life. Therefore the servant of God ought always be in good spirits."

What the world was like

Philip Neri lived at the time of the Renaissance. During this time there was a resurgence of learning, affecting philosophical thought, science and art. Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and sculpted the Pietà. Philip Neri lived during a time of great exploration of the world. Vasco de Gama discovered a sea route to India; Magellan's expedition circumnavigated the world; Francis Drake circled the world and claimed California for England; Coronado discovered the Grand Canyon. Copernicus published the theory that the Earth and other planets revolve around the sun. Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation. Henry VIII renounced the Catholic Church and began the Anglican Church of England. The spinning wheel improved the production of fabrics. The letter J was introduced into the English alphabet.

Who he was

Philip was born in Florence, Italy. He had two sisters and a brother who died as a child. His parents were not wealthy. When he was eighteen years old, Philip's father sent him to live and work with an older cousin who was successful in business. While living with his cousin, Philip would often go pray in the mountains. It was then that he decided to dedicate his life to God.

He left his cousin and went to live in Rome, where he was a tutor for a friend's son. While there, he studied theology, philosophy, and wrote poetry.

Philip started visiting the poor and caring for the sick. He eventually became a priest. He began working with young people, finding them safe places to play. He was well liked because he was gentle, kind, and had a warm personality. He had a wonderful sense of humor and used this gift when helping others. His two favorite books were the Bible and a joke book.

Philip died after a long illness. The entire city of Rome was sad. Because of Philip, many people's faith was increased.

What this saint means to us today

Philip used humor to solve many problems and to help other people. We can follow his example and not take situations in life too seriously. We can use joy and humor to help others.

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