Sauli, Alexander, St.
SAULI, ALEXANDER, ST.
General of the barnabites and bishop of Aleria and Pavia; b. Milan, Italy, Feb. 15, 1534; d. Calosso (Asti), Italy, Oct. 11, 1592. He was of a noble Genoese family; and after humanistic study at Pavia, he came to Milan as a page of Emperor Charles V. At 17 he was accepted by the recently founded order of Barnabites, after undergoing the trial imposed on the feast of Pentecost 1551, of walking through the crowded streets of Milan, dressed as a page and carrying a heavy cross, and then preaching in the Piazza dei Mercanti. Following studies in philosophy and theology at Pavia, he was ordained (1556) and began a ministry among the students of the university, organizing them into an academy, the precursor of such associations in modern universities. At 33 he was elected general of the order. In this office he continued his work with the formation of youth, donated his rich library to the college [see G. Boffito, Biblioteca Barnabitica (Florence 1934) 3:412–440)], and fostered the growth of the order in Piedmont, Venice, and Rome, although he resisted a suggested union with the humiliati, who at this time were very rich and in spiritual decline. He was elected bishop of Aleria in Corsica in 1570 and was consecrated by Cardinal Charles borromeo, whose confessor and collaborator in the reform at Milan he had been. Conditions in Aleria were alarming; there had been no bishop for 70 years, the clergy was ignorant, and the people were poor and barbaric. He constructed a seminary, a cathedral, and an episcopal residence; reformed his clergy; and in three synods introduced the decrees of the Council of Trent. During the pestilence of 1580 he showed heroism similar to that of Charles Borromeo at Milan. He is credited with miraculous cures, the calming of storms at sea, successful resistance of the raids from the corsairs from the Barbary Coast, and prophecies. In spite of his physical frailty, he worked in this mission for 20 years. He had refused translation to the Diocese of Tortona and Genoa, but in obedience to Gregory XIV he accepted, in 1591, the important Diocese of Pavia, where he died after a year. He was canonized by Pius X in 1904; his body is venerated in the cathedral at Pavia.
Feast: Oct. 11.
Bibliography: g. a. gabuzlo, Vita … (Milan 1748), reproduced in Acta Sanctorum Oct. 5:806–834. g. s. gerdil, Vie du bienheureux Alexandre Sauli (Rome 1805). f. t. moltedo, Vita di S. Alessandro Sauli (Naples 1904).
[u. m. fasola]