The son of a lawyer, St. Philip Neri was more concerned with the law of God than the law of the land.
This Italian priest grew up learning from his nearby Franciscan friars in Florence, Italy. After being sent to live with his uncle, whose fortune he was set to inherit, he underwent a conversion to Christ and His Church. No longer caring for worldly ways, he moved to Rome.
There, he became known for his love of the poor and sick, earning himself the moniker ‘Apostle of Rome’. He travelled throughout the city, engaging people in conversation – all before he was even a priest.
But God had bigger plans for St. Philip, and he was eventually ordained a priest in the 1550s. He went on to found a society of secular clergy known as the Congregation of the Oratory (which added St. Philip’s name to the title following his death, become the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri).
The society is a mix of Catholic priests and laymen, bound by charity but no formal vows. It is still based in Rome, Italy today.
He was a joyful man, and a contemporary of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). St. Philip passed away late in the day May 25, after hearing confessions for many hours. He was beatified just 20 years later, and canonized after another seven. His feast day is celebrated on May 26th.
St. Philip Neri is the patron of many things, but one cannot be ignored: Italy. And what screams Italy better than pasta with a delicious red sauce? This savoury yet slightly sweet sauce pairs well with any pasta of your choice.
- 1-pound lean ground beef*
- 3 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 5 gram can tomato paste
- 1 28 gram can crushed or diced tomatoes, depending on your preference**
- 1 heaping tsp of dried basil
- 1 heaping tsp of dried orgegano
- Salt and pepper to taste
Add the olive oil to a large pot on medium heat.
Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is softened. Add ground beef and stir fry with onion and garlic, breaking up chunks until browned.
Add tomato paste, canned tomatoes, spices, and mix well. Simmer on low for 1 hour. Serve over your favourite pasta.
This sauce freezes well, and can easily be doubled.
* For a vegetarian/vegan version, substitute one pound vegan ground beef.
**Crushed tomatoes will give a smooth sauce, while diced will give a chunkier one and put the sauce on even footing with the other ingredients. It’s your choice!