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Philip Benizi, St.


Fifth general of the Servite Order; b. Florence, Italy, Aug. 15, 1223; d. Todi, Umbria, Italy, Aug. 23, 1285. Born of the renowned Benizi and Frescobaldi families, Philip studied first in Paris and then in Padua, where he completed his course in medicine. After practicing medicine among the poor in Florence for a year, he entered the servites (1254) as a lay brother and was sent to Monte Senario near Florence. While on a journey to Siena in 1258, his great ability and learning, hitherto hidden from his brethren, was accidentally discovered; he was immediately required to prepare for Holy Orders and was ordained to the priesthood the following year. On June 5, 1267, Philip was elected the fifth superior general. He proved to be a great administrator and zealous apostle. He preached and reputedly worked miracles throughout Europe; the order gained many members, e.g., Peregrine Laziosi and Andrew Dotti. In the guelf-ghibelline controversy he acted as peacemaker throughout Italy with great success. Aware that his death was approaching, Philip placed the order in the hands of Bl. Lotharingus Stufa in 1285 and retired to a poor Servite convent in Todi. He was buried in the Servite church there; many miracles followed. Pope leo x approved his cult in 1516, and clement x canonized him in 1671.

Feast: Aug. 23.

Bibliography: p. soulier, Life of Saint Philip Benizi (New York 1886). p. soulier et al., eds., Monumenta Servorum Sanctae Marine, 20v. (Brussels 18971930) v. 2. l. pazzaglia, S. Filippo Benizi nella storia e nella leggenda (Rome 1953). a. butler, The Lives of the Saints. rev. ed. h. thurston and d. attwater (New York 1956) 3:385388. g. m. besutti, Saint Philippe Benizi, tr. j. m. desgrandchamps, ed. a. m. cimichella (Montreal 1985). l. dominici, Todi e S. Filippo Benizi: itinerario storico artistico (Todi 1985).

[m. b. morris]

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