Beniti Philip, Saint

Beniti Philip, Saint founder of the Order of Servites, was born at Florence at the beginning of the 13th century. He studied at Florence and Paris, and took his degree of doctor of divinity at Padua. After returning home he entered a chapel belonging to the confraternity of the Annonciada, in order to hear mass. He saw at this time a vision of the Blessed Virgin, who seemed to invite him to join her company, at the same time presenting him with the black habit of the Annonciada. He was received as a lay associate of the house, and after some time was sent to Sienna, where he entered the priesthood. Passing rapidly through all the offices of his order, he was created superior-general; and, upon the death of pope Clement IV, fled in order not to be elected his successor. After the election of Gregory X, Sept. 1271, he returned, and devoted himself to the extension of his order and to preaching. He passed through a great part of France, the Low Countries, Friesland, Saxony, and Upper Germany, where he established many houses of the Servites. At a general chapter at Borgo, Italy, he was constrained to take the generalship of the order; and at the Council of Lyons, 1274, he obtained the confirmation of the rules and statutes. He died at Todi, Aug. 22, 1285, and was canonized in 1671, by Clement X. His festival; which is one of obligation, is on Aug. 23. See Butler, vol. 8; Baillet, 2 350.

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