THE LIFE OF ST. PAUL, PATRON OF PAULINIAN SCHOOLS
St. Paul was not one of the 12 apostles, yet so miraculous was his vocation by the immediate voice of Christ from heaven; so wonderful the manner in which he was sent by the express command of the Holy Spirit to instruct all nations; so eminent was his gift of inspiration and his gift of prophecy; and lastly, so many and so great were the things which he suffered and did for the honor of God and for the conversion of nations that he has been justly entitled to hold a place among the apostles. He is probably the greatest missionary the Christian Church has known.
The date of hsi birth is generally placed between 5 and 10 A.D. at Tarsus, Cilicia. Born to Jewish parents, he was well eudcated in Jewish and non-Jewish studies. Like many Jewish children living outside Palestine, Saul (his Jewish name) was given a second name, Paul, the name by which he is best remembered. He enjoyed the privileges of Roman citizenship because of his afther’s status with the Roman government. He was bilingual (Hebrew and Greek). He studied under the great Jewish rabbi, Gamaliel and eventually became and ardent Pharisee. His zealousness and the observance of Jewish laws and traditions made him a persecutor of the followers of Jesus Christ. After some years, he experienced a conversion on the road to Damascus. His miraculous conversion to Christianity is commemorated by the Church on the 25th of January. From being a persecutor of Christians, Paul was transformed into an ardent and zealous apostle of Christ.
The Acts of the Apostles gives a summary account of Paul’s three missionary trips throughout Asia Minor. After his last trip (4th missionary journey) to Rome, he was arrested, and then acquitted. He became the Apostle of the Gentiles (non-Jews) bringing Jesus’ message to them. During the reign of Emperor Nero, he was again arrestes and finally beheaded in Rome.
Paul’s unsurpassed fervor for the Christian faith is seen in his journeys and in letters. He wrote nine letters to the Church communities (Romans, Corinthians 1 and 2, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians 1 and 2); Pastoral letters (Timothy 1 and 2 and Titus) and a personal letter to Philemon.