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St Vincent Pallotti

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Priest and founder of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate. The son of a Roman grocer, Vincent was ordained priest in 1817. He taught theology at Sapienza, but was much more interested in pastoral work and resigned from teaching to become chaplain to several Roman colleges, including the English, Scottish and Irish.

Although he was not encouraged by the clergy he developed a lay apostolate which anticipated the ideas of Vatican II. In 1835 he founded his Society from a group of clergy and laity who were committed to conversion and social justice. They set up schools and evening classes for workers.

St Vincent had the gift of prophesy and was sought out as a wise and kind confessor. He was also very generous and kept giving away his clothes to the poor. He died of pleurisy in 1850 when he was just 55.

His congregation has flourished in Italy, Brazil, Australia and America. It specialises in the care of immigrants and promoting ecumenical contacts with the Eastern Orthodox churches. St Vincent was canonised in 1963.

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