Saint Vincent Pallotti (1795-1850) was a Roman Catholic Priest who, through his profound spiritual life and his service to the humanity, had a considerable influence on the history of the world of 19th century. He lived in a time in which the foundations of the modern world and of a new socio-political order were laid. The turbulences of Napoleonic period, French revolution, publication of the “Communist Manifesto”, the liberal tendencies, and the development of mass printing were some of the events which characterized the times of Pallotti. He was sensitive to the problems affecting faith life and the proclamation of the Good News of God’s love. In the face of such problems, Pallotti directed his attention towards reviving faith in God and re-enkindling charity among all people in order to bring peace and harmony in the world.
To remedy the situation, Pallotti perceived the necessity for the formation of children and young people and got engaged into various educational activities such as: Night Schools, Elementary Schools, Professional Schools, Agricultural Schools, Art Schools, Industrial Schools, etc. In this way he tried to counteract the socio-political forces that affected the life of young people and thereby to restore in them the “image and likeness of God.” In 1835, he founded the Union of the Catholic Apostolate, a pious society, which attempted to bring together lay people, priests and religious to collaborate in the revival of faith and charity. Significant among the activities of this Union was social service and night schools for the poor and the needy in the city of Rome and in the missions abroad.
To animate the Union and its activities, he founded the Society of the Catholic Apostolate, a community of Priests and Brothers and two communities of Sisters, who are commonly known as “Pallottines”. Saint Vincent Pallotti died on January 22, 1850. He was beatified after a century in 1950, and on January 20, 1963, during the Second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII formally declared him a Saint. According to Pope John XIII, he was “a tireless apostle, director of souls and inspirer of holy enthusiasm among children and youth.”