St. Vincent was born in 1745 in Civitavecchia, the port city of Rome, Italy. He was an only child who lived a devout life as a youth thanks to the example of the Franciscans.
His religious fervor led to his entering the seminary at age 15. The Dominicans shared in his seminary formation, helping foster his interest in preaching and spirituality. He met the great preacher, St. Paul of the Cross, and after Vincent’s priestly ordination, he felt God’s call to join the Passionists, who were known for their preaching and contemplative spirit.
Strambi blossomed in his Passionist life and became a great preacher and a promoter of community life as a local and provincial superior and as a seminary formation director. He was an outstanding spiritual director for laity and religious, and wrote many devotional books including a noted biography of St. Paul of the Cross, Founder of the Passionists.
In 1773, Father Paul put the former seminary prefect and rector in charge of the training of the young students for future missionary preaching at the newly acquired monastery of Sts. John and Paul in Rome. Eventually, Father Vincent would write a manual on Sacred Eloquence.
In this way Father Vincent was able to be with St. Paul during the final years of his life. Paul saw in this young man the apostolic spirit of holiness he was bequeathing to his congregation. We are told that as he was dying, St. Paul one day turned to Father Vincent Mary and told him he was entrusting the congregation to his care.
Vincent, like the others, missed the founder very much as he continued to prepare young Passionists for the missionary apostolate. He also went forth to preach missions as often as possible.
In 1780 he became rector of the Community of Sts. John and Paul. In 1781 he was elected provincial. He also served as provincial and general consultor. During this time that he published a biography of the founder. Father Vincent used the testimonies of eyewitnesses as given in the canonization processes. It is said that he wrote the life of St. Paul on his knees, out of reverence for the founder. His “Life” of Father Paul became a classic and was greeted with enthusiasm by many.
Vincent was appointed bishop of Macerata and Tolentino. He was a true shepherd of the Church, helping reform the clergy of his day and advocating for the Church against the political upheavals of the day. As bishop, he brought the spirituality of his Passionist vocation to his ministry, especially the spirit of prayer and pastoral dedication.
Adapted by A. J. Valentini from: St. Vincent Strambi. (n.d.). The Passionists Organization. Retrieved Dec. 24, 2020, from https://passionist.org/st-vincent-strambi/