The Life of Blessed Paul of the Cross
by Father Pius of the Name of Mary, 1860

Supernatural Wonders in the Missions of Blessed Paul

Our Lord promised to his faithful servants: In my name they shall cast out devils. This power over the devils was communicated to Blessed Paul.

A soldier, touched with compunction at one of his sermons, went to confession; but, behold, while accusing himself of his sins to a companion of the servant of God, he felt himself dragged backwards by an invisible power. He clings to the confessional, but the force drawing him was so great that, with him, it dragged along the confessional itself, with the confessor in it. All who were present were seized with terror, and one comes to tell Paul, who immediately hastens to the place to give assistance to the penitent and the confessor, both of them almost dead with fear. He directly places the rosary of the Blessed Virgin on the neck of the trembling soldier, then puts his own mantle over him, leads him into the sacristy, where, after calming and encouraging him, he heard his confession with great kindness and reconciled him to God. So great was the consolation of this repentant sinner, that he desired to die in that state and go to heaven ; and ignorantly thinking that suicide, with so good an intention, would be a good act, he opened a sepulchre in the church and threw himself in. Paul, hearing of it, ran quickly to the place, and commanded him to come out. The soldier was slow to obey, and, to make him do it, it required repeated and most positive commands of the servant of God, who afterwards, relating the fact pleasantly, said, it cost him more to drag the man out of the tomb than to release him from the hands of the devil.

Supernatural gifts conferred by God on Blessed Paul

Our most loving God who giveth to all men abundantly is particularly liberal towards his faithful servants, who have no thought but to love him and please him. He enriched Blessed Paul with those gifts, which from their being uncommon, of a superior order, and proceeding from his pure liberality, are called extraordinary, supernatural, and freely given. Among these, the most remarkable are the gifts of prophecy, of discernment of spirits, and of miracles. We shall here give an example of these three, omitting many facts related by other writers of his life.

A young student of the congregation, called Valentine of St. Mary Magdalene, was continually spitting blood in large quantities, and had been pronounced consumptive by the physicians. Blessed Paul told him one day that his sickness was of no consequence, and added: "When I say a thing, believe me, I make a pretty good guess. You will be a missionary. This is a trial which God has sent you." All happened as he said. This religious lived many years, working on the mission without any signs of a weak chest.

Of his gift of discernment of spirits

Discernment of spirits is a gift, by which the interior of hearts is penetrated with a superior light, and a sure judgment is formed of the state of consciences, in order for their better regulation and direction. It follows that frequently by means of this gift, the future destiny of persons may likewise be foreseen. We have seen in the course of this history that Blessed Paul possessed this gift. A countryman went to call on him at the Retreat of St. Angelo, with a recommendation from his master desiring Paul to hear his general confession, which he wished to make. Paul heard him with great charity. When he concluded his accusations of himself, he said he remembered nothing more. "How, then," said Paul, "have you not to mention the sin which you committed in the wood of Fallari, such a year and such a day." The poor countryman began to tremble, seeing himself at the feet of one who so clearly knew his interior and told him that which he himself had forgotten; but being encouraged by the holy man, he finished his confession, and went away full of consolation.

Of his gift of miracles

God alone is the worker of miracles, because he alone has the full and absolute command of that nature which he has created. He is pleased, however, to work them through chosen ones among his servants. One of these was Blessed Paul of the Cross. Don Giuseppe Pontecorvo, a priest of Sonnino, was brought to him, when he was at the Retreat of Terracina. For nine years this priest had been covered all over his body with a disgusting scab, which was judged to be leprosy. As he was too weak to stand by himself, he was brought before Paul supported by two persons, and begged him to have compassion on his most wretched state. Paul exhorted him to trust in God, touched his sore with his hand, and then blessed him. No sooner had the sick man returned home than he saw all the scabs wonderfully fall from him. He was restored to perfect health, and never afterwards suffered from the same disease.

The simple touch of articles used by Blessed Paul, worked wonders. A young woman in Alessandria applied to herself a letter of his, and was instantly cured of an illness under which she suffered. A man of Bassano was returning home from St. Angelo, and had about him one of the signs of the congregation which the servant of God had worn on his breast. He was marvelously protected from being touched by rain which was falling heavily all the time of his journey. Paul was giving a mission at Arlena, when Giroloma Ricci, who had been deaf for three years, waited for him one evening as he came out of the church after the sermon. As he passed, she laid hold of his mantle, and, full of faith, applied it to her ears. Paul reproved her, saying: Now, what have you gained by it?" My hearing," she might have answered; for she was at once cured.

It is a special grace which God often grants to his servants to make them know the precise time of their death, as a pledge of the glory to which he is about to call them. This favor it pleased God to grant to Paul, through the hands of our Blessed Lady the great dispensatrix of heavenly graces.

Download the book, "The Life of Blessed Paul of the Cross"