St. Philip Neri was born in Florence, Italy, in 1515. When he was 18, Philip was sent to live with his uncle, Romolo, a wealthy merchant at San Germano, to help him with his business, and in hopes that he might inherit his uncle’s fortune. Philip earned Romolo’s confidence and affection, but had a religious conversion shortly after coming to San Germano, and was no longer interested in wealth and material possessions.
In 1533, Philip decided to move to Rome, studying philosophy and theology, and tutoring young boys. Eventually, Philip tired of learning, and sold all his books, gave the proceeds to the poor, and visited the sick under the guidance of the Augustinians.
Philip co-founded the Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity, and began preaching, converting many. He was ordained in 1551. Many people came to Philip to receive confession.
Pope Gregory XIV wanted to make Philip a cardinal, but he declined and remained a priest. Philip then founded the Congregation of the Oratory, also known as the Oratorians. The order, dedicated to preaching and teaching, still exists today.
St. Philip Neri died on May 27, 1595, and was canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622. He is the patron of Rome and the U.S. Army Special Forces.