AUGUST 23 is the traditional memorial of ST. PHILIP BENIZI (+1285). Philip was a precocious genius and his education moved to the University of Paris at 13. Later, he attended the University of Padua, where he studied medicine. After completing his course, he practiced as a doctor in Florence for a year, working among the poor. His heart was idealistic and he thought of being in a religious community. In 1254, he entered the Servites as a simple brother, which reflects his humility and purity. Philip was sent to St. Senario to live a life of penance and sacrifice where miracles occurred. When his brethren realized his intelligence, they insisted he receive Holy Orders. He was ordained in 1259, at the age of 26.
Due to his talents, he rose through the posts and in 1267, he was chosen Superior General. He began to travel, preaching and working miracles. In 1274, at the Council of Lyons, he demonstrated the gift of tongues. Philip was active all over Italy as a peace-maker. In all humility, Philip went into hiding when he heard that the cardinals were thinking of electing him to the papacy. In his later years, some argued that the Servites should not exist as an order. He spent much time and effort defending the order from disaster. In 1285, Philip knew he was dying. He went to the poorest convent, at Todi, where he died. Many miracles have come from his intercession.
"And this same holy Roman Church holds the highest and complete primacy and spiritual power over the universal Catholic Church which she truly and humbly recognizes herself to have received with fullness of power from the Lord Himself in Blessed Peter."
Council of Lyons II, 1274