St. Philip Neri was born on July 22, 1515 in Florence, Italy. At age 18, he decided to commit his life to God and moved to Rome in 1533 to study, as long as it didn't interrupt his prayers. When it did, he stopped his studies, threw away his books, and lived as a kind of hermit.
Night was his special time of prayer. After dark he would go out in the streets, sometimes to churches, but most often into the catacombs of St. Sebastiano to pray. During one of these times of prayer he felt a globe of light enter his mouth and sink into his heart. This experience gave him so much energy to serve God that he went out to work at the hospital of the incurables and starting speaking to others about God, everyone from beggars to bankers.
Philip was known to be spontaneous and unpredictable, charming and humorous.
He seemed to sense the different ways to bring people to God. One man came to the Oratory just to make fun of it. Philip wouldn't let the others throw him out or speak against him. He told them to be patient and eventually the man became a Dominican. On the other hand, when he met a condemned man who refused to listen to any pleas for repentance, Philip didn't try gentle words, but grabbed the man by the collar and threw him to the ground. The move shocked the criminal into repentance and he made a full confession.
A home in Red Deer chose St. Philip as their patron saint because, like him, the people who live and work in our home are not afraid to look at things from the lighter side. Funny faces, practical jokes and even water fights that erupt out of the blue are common here. The staff in our programs walk with people, engaging them in activity and not acting as mere spectators or directors. Humor is a strength regularly utilized in this home. The people who live here remind staff not to take themselves too seriously and have commented that they like and appreciate that staff joke with them, use humor and don’t get mad when they get mad.