Philip Neri was born in Florence, Italy, in 1515 into a poor family. As a young man, he received word in a vision that he had a special mission in Rome, so he cut himself off from his family and friends and left.
While in Rome, he studied philosphy and theology, and tutored young boys. Eventually Philip became bored of learning, so he sold all of his books, gave the money he received from them to the poor, and visited the sick.
Later, he co-founded the Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity and began to preach, and many people converted thanks to Philip's preaching and example. During this time, he was a lay person and lived as a hermit, however a good friend eventually convinced him to enter the priesthood, and he was ordained in 1551.
Many people came to him for confession. He also began to work with youth. Pope Gregory XIV wanted to make Philip a cardinal, but the priest declined.
He then founded the Congregation of the Oratory, also known as the Oratorians, dedicated to preaching and teaching, and they still exist today.
He died 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.