born: Florence, July 21, 1515
died: Rome, may 26, 1595
Catholic reformer and founder of the Oratorians.
Instead of becoming a priest he abandoned his studies and as a layman, completely on his own, he meditated on the gospels and prayed, sometimes it seems in ecstasy. Neri was a notorious prankster and joker.
Like saint Francis of Assisi, he had theatrical talent, and did hilarious performances. They were the stand-up comedians of their day. Saint Francis had the funny habit of being extremely rude to other saints and throw stones at them, this made him very popular. He had a gift for making a spectacle of himself and did stunts. He once had himself dragged through the streets at high speed behind a horse for eating a piece of chicken when he was not supposed to.
Neri was once seduced by a woman, when she stood in front of him, naked, he decided to run for it. 'The disappointed woman grabbed the first weapon that came to hand, a footstool, and hurtled it after the retreating saint. After this incident divine grace so infused Philipus that all sexual feelings disappeared from his body' Even his sense of touch deadened.
The last 30 years of his life he lived more like a celestial being than a man.
Wingspan: 1,68 m
Weight (approx): 74 kg
Range and distribution: Italy
Color: black tunic and hat, white beard.
Special features: burning heart