St Alexander Sauli, bishop

Saint Alexander
 was born in Milan in 1534 into a noble family from Genoa. He entered the Barnabite Congregation at a very young age, after showing great courage and humility by carrying a large cross through the streets of Milan. After his consecration to God, he was ordained a priest at the age of twenty two. He finished his theology at the University of Pavia, where he became a professor. FatherSauli was elected Superior General of the Congregation at the age of thirty three, and was appointed Bishop of Aleria (Corsica) three years later. His episcopal ministry lasted for twenty two years. As a shepherd of souls, he dedicated himself almost single-handedly to the religious renewal of clergy and laity in a large and difficult region through preaching, catechesis, synods, and pastoral visits. He placated vendettas and hatreds. He eradicated abuses and superstitions. But his greatest accomplishment was with his favorites: the poor and the sick. He took care of them and alleviated their pain. Because of his heroic charity, especially during the time of famine and pestilence, he was called “The Guardian Angel and Apostle of Corsica.” In 1591, Gregory XIV transferred him to the Diocese of Pavia. After only a year in the diocese, St. Alexander Sauli died in Calosso d’ Asti on October 11, 1592. He was beatified in 1741 by Benedict XIV and then canonized in 1904 by St. Pius X. St. Alexander Sauli is the Patron of Barnabite seminarians. His feast is celebrated on October 11.

Saint Alexander Sauli, 
 a Barnabite, bishop 

Pray to Saint Alexander Sauli

Saint Alexander Sauli, 
obtain for us God's love 
which filled your life and directed 
your heart towards the needy and the suffering.

Grant unto us His divine strength 
so that we may be able 
to carry our daily crosses and, 
after your example, 
zealously serve Him and 
be wholly dedicated to Him.

Intercede for us with God, 
who was your source of wisdom, 
so that we may be transformed by his Spirit 
into His living witnesses in the world 
where we want to teach, 
with our lives and example, 
the mysteries of His Word to those who do not know it yet. 


 Liturgy for the memorial of St. Alexander Sauli, 
barnabite and bishop 



Sir 50:1 This is the high priest, in whose time the house of God was renovated, in whose days the temple was reinforced.


Jer 3:15 I will appoint over you shepherds after my own heart, who will shepherd you wisely and prudently.

O God, In the holy Bishop Alexander Sauli 
you have given to your Church a model of faithful religious observance and
of tireless pastoral dedication. 
Grant, we pray, that your people may always be led by worthy pastors. 
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, 
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 
one God, for ever and ever.

First Option

Jeremiah 23: 1-4 
I myself will look after and tend my sheep.

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah 

Foe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the LORD. Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, against the shepherds who shepherd my people: You have scattered my sheep and driven them away. You have not cared for them, but I will take care to punish your evil deeds.
I myself will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands to which I have driven them and bring them back to their meadow; there they shall increase and multiply. I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing, says the LORD.

The word of the Lord.


Second Option

Ezekiel 34:1-16 I myself will look after and tend my sheep.

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel 

Thus the word of the LORD came to me: Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, in these words prophesy to them to the shepherds: Thus says the Lord GOD: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been pasturing themselves! Should not shepherds, rather, pasture sheep? You have fed off their milk, worn their wool, and slaughtered the fatlings, but the sheep you have not pastured. You did not strengthen the weak nor heal the sick nor bind up the injured. You did not bring back the strayed nor seek the lost, but you lorded it over them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered and wandered over all the mountains and high hills; my sheep were scattered over the whole earth, with no one to look after them or to search for them. Therefore, shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: As I live, says the Lord GOD, because my sheep have been given over to pillage, and because my sheep have become food for every wild beast, for lack of a shepherd; because my shepherds did not look after my sheep, but pastured themselves and did not pasture my sheep; because of this, shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: Thus says the Lord GOD: I swear I am coming against these shepherds. I will claim my sheep from them and put a stop to their shepherding my sheep so that they may no longer pasture themselves. I will save my sheep, that they may no longer be food for their mouths. For thus says the Lord GOD: “I myself will look after and tend my sheep. As a shepherd tends his flock when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so will I tend my sheep. I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark. I will lead them out from among the peoples and gather them from the foreign lands; I will bring them back to their own country and pasture them upon the mountains of Israel in the land's ravines and all its inhabited places. In good pastures will I pasture them, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing ground. There they shall lie down on good grazing ground, and in rich pastures shall they be pastured on the mountains of Israel. I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD. The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal but the sleek and the strong I will destroy, shepherding them rightly.

The word of the Lord.

Psalm 89: 20b-22, 23-24, 25

R/. God is marvelous in his Saints.

I have set a leader over the warriors; 
I have raised up a hero from the army. 
I have chosen David, my servant; with my holy oil 
I have anointed him. My hand will be with him; my arm will make him strong.

R/. God is marvelous in his Saints. 

No enemy shall outwit him, 
nor shall the wicked defeat him. 
I will crush his foes before him, 
strike down those who hate him.

R/. God is marvelous in his Saints. 

My loyalty and love will be with him; 
through my name his horn will be exalted

 R/. God is marvelous in his Saints.

Luke 4:18

R/. Alleluia, alleluia. 
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free. 
R/. Alleluia, alleluia


Luke 4:14-19 
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all. He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

The Gospel of the Lord.


Second Option 
Luke 10:1-9
I am sending you like lambs among wolves.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke

 The Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this household.' If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God is at hand for you.'

The Gospel of the Lord.

 Lord, accept the gifts we bring to your holy altar
on this feast of Saint Alexander Sauli.
May the power of your Spirit sanctify
what we humbly offer.
Through Christ our Lord.

Priest: The Lord be with you. 
People: And with your spirit. 
Priest: Lift up your hearts. 
People: We lift them up to the Lord. 
Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. 
People: It is right and just.

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father,
almighty and eternal God, through Christ our Lord.
You give the Church this feast in honor of Saint Alexander Sauli;
you inspire us by his holy life, instruct us by his preaching, and
give us your protection in answer to his prayers.
We join the Angels and the Saints as they sing their unending hymn of praise: 

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts. 
Heaven and earth are full of your glory. 
Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. 
Hosanna in the highest.

Jn 10:11 I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Lord, all-powerful God,
by the Eucharist we share at your holy table
keep alive in us the ardor of charity.
Following the example of Saint Alexander Sauli
who gave himself totally to you may our lives
be totally dedicated to your service.
Through Christ our Lord


Triduum prayers in honor of 
St. ALEXANDER SAULI, a Barnabite and bishop

Day 1 
O glorious Saint Alexander Sauli who to the wealth and joys of the world have preferred the riches of virtues and the pure joys of heaven, grant that I too, overcoming any immoderate desire for fun  and earthly comforts, may grow to be good and chaste like you.

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be …

Day 2
My Holy Protector, who as a diligent and faithful disciple have given me an example of profound attachment to my duties as a student, of discipline and growth in the ways of Wisdom, aid me with your powerful protection so that with determined will I may face my studies, and cheerfully apply myself to my work so that I may reach the goal set for me by Divine Providence.

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be …

Day 3
Most tender lover of the cross, who, still as a young man, at a simple suggestion embraced the sacred wood of redemption to carry it through the streets of the city, grant that I too, out of love for the One who has died on the cross for me, may willingly embrace it, and live, with generous dedication and without seeking human praise, the spotless life of a genuine Christian.

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be …


O God, in the holy bishop Alexander Sauli
you have given to your Church
a model of faithful religious observance
and of tireless pastoral dedication.
Grant, we pray, that your people 
may always be led by worthy pastors.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. 

St. ALEXANDER SAULI,  Photo by Carmen Carcoba Wrzos

Saint Alexander was born in Milan in 1534 into a noble family from Genoa. He entered the Barnabite Congregation at a very young age, after showing great courage and humility by carrying a large cross through the streets of Milan. After his consecration to God, he was ordained a priest at the age of twenty two. He finished his theology at the University of Pavia, where he became a professor. FatherSauli was elected Superior General of the Congregation at the age of thirty three, and was appointed Bishop of Aleria (Corsica) three years later. His episcopal ministry lasted for twenty two years. As a shepherd of souls, he dedicated himself almost single-handedly to the religious renewal of clergy and laity in a large and difficult region through preaching, catechesis, synods, and pastoral visits. He placated vendettas and hatreds. He eradicated abuses and superstitions. But his greatest accomplishment was with his favorites: the poor and the sick. He took care of them and alleviated their pain. Because of his heroic charity, especially during the time of famine and pestilence, he was called “The Guardian Angel and Apostle of Corsica.” In 1591, Gregory XIV transferred him to the Diocese of Pavia. After only a year in the diocese, St. Alexander Sauli died in Calosso d’ Asti on October 11, 1592. He was beatified in 1741 by Benedict XIV and then canonized in 1904 by St. Pius X. St. Alexander Sauli is the Patron of Barnabite seminarians. His feast is celebrated on October 11.

The beginnings of Sainthood
The letter signed by St Alexander Sauli, bishop
In 1551, at the age of seventeen, Alexander Sauli became a page at the court of Emperor Charles V. His parents were Tommasina Spinola and Dominic Sauli, Marquis of Pozzuolo in the territory of  Tortona was also an assistant to Duke Francis II Sforza. Dominic Sauli was esteemed by Emperor Charles V, who was then president of the High Court of Milan. Both of his parents were from ancient and noble families of Genoa. This social status offered Alexander a great opportunity for a prestigious and brilliant career. Instead, he knocked at the door of St. Barnabas Church and asked to be admitted to the Congregation of the Barnabites. Before making his request, Alexander had already  become familiar with St. Barnabas, and with the Fathers, whose life and customs he had studied in the previous months. He did not agree with all their observances, such as kneeling in front of the Superior, or praying continuously, or doing menial work in  the house. But he understood that the Fathers were very serious in their religious convictions.
We can envision how Alexander in his youth boldly faced the assembly of demanding Barnabite Fathers who examined his qualifications and motivations for such a request. It is necessary to note that at this time the Congregation was experiencing the precariousness of its beginnings, extreme poverty, and harsh trials.  It  had been a victim of ostracism from the Venetian Republic only two months before. Alexander was surrounded by the whole community, about twenty religious. The Fathers were neither easy nor condescending with those applying to enter the Congregation. John Peter Besozzi, who was a member of the Marrieds of St. Paul, also asked to become a Barnabite (his wife had been admitted to the Angelics). To prove the seriousness about his decision, he was sent, dressed in velvet, and with a rope around his neck to beg among beggars, blind, and maimed, at the door of the church of St. Ambrose on the feast day of the patron saint. With Alexander they were much more cautious. They wanted to make sure that his commitment was sincere and true. The question pressed on: did he ever doubt or perhaps hesitate to face the austerity of religious life? Alexander did not lose  patience. He showed a maturity far beyond to his age. He was already one persecuted for the sake of Christ Crucified. Obviously, the Cross had been a current theme of the homilies in St. Barnabas. He was not scared about poverty. Obedience already seemed to be a top priority in his mind. He was ready to sacrifice his desire to study, to renounce prolonged prayers so suited to his feelings indeed, to renounce everything for a more austere way of life because for him there was no greater penance  than the renunciation of his own will. 
He was not scared to sweep the floor, wash the dishes, tend the garden, or do any menial tasks.
He was ready to do all. But the Fathers still faced some perplexities. Alexander was too young, and they did not know him so well. He was good with words, but what about his life?
And what if this noble heir only wishes to become a Bishop? Here is the description of the interrogation made by the Barnabite Fathers to St. Alexander Sauli as reported in the Acts of the Barnabite Community in Milan.

April 22, 1551
The bed sheet used by 
St. Alexander Sauli, a barnabite bishop
As the Chapter assembled, Alexander explained the feeling that he had been called by Christ Crucified to follow Him as a member of a religious family. Since he had a burning desire to follow this call and to serve Christ in the best way possible, he ardently asked to be accepted in the Congregation. He thought it was the best Congregation that suited his aspiration and would allow him to make more progress in the spiritual life more than in any other religious congregation.
Question: What motivated you to choose this Congregation?
Answer: It’s my desire to be in a Congregation where I could honor Jesus Christ in a more perfect way.
Question: How long have you thought about entering our Congregation?
Answer: For about a year now.
Question: Do you see any problem that might dissuade you from taking this step?
Answer: I just feel uneasy about the idea of getting up early in the morning for prayers.
Question: Have you thought about the fact that this Congregation could can not rely on any income sufficient to live on? That once Lady Julia Sfondrati, our benefactor, is gone, we will be reduced to poverty?
Answer: I have not given importance to it. Poverty does not scare me at all.
Question: What is your aim in joining our Congregation?
Question: Have you prayed to Jesus Christ to enlighten you about which religious family to choose?
Answer: I have prayed at length to God to show me which congregation to choose. At first, I was more interested in the rules of St. Benedict and the Carthusians since I like solitude, but my tendency to feel lonely makes me doubt if these models of life would suit me. Now, during these few days, I feel more and more interested in your Congregation.
Question: Have you prayed to the Lord about your specific choice of a congregation about which religious family to choose?
Answer: Yes. Actually, for some time, I have been thinking about entering a congregation where greater penances are practiced. I think here, more than in any other place, there is the breaking of the will, a form of penance I consider to be more noble and excellent than any other exterior penances.
Question: Did you ever find yourself in a situation where someone had inflamed you with the love for Christ Crucified?
Answer: No.
Question: What will you do if your father does not allow you to enter this Congregation?
Answer: If my father will not consent to my desire,
I will go to another congregation that is not known to him.
Question: You’ve noticed that the younger members are the ones doing the menial tasks in the house. Are you afraid to do these kinds of tasks?
Answer: I doubt that I would be spared from doing menial tasks, but I am willing to do anything that obedience may demand.
Question: Have you ever doubted about your constancy and perseverance in the religious life?
Answer: I admit that sometimes I doubted it, but I have overcome this temptation.
The Fathers told Alexander to consider other religious families, such as the Dominicans, the
Franciscans, and the Capuchins, who are rich with members with outstanding holiness and wisdom.  They told him further that it is better for him to be in these big congregations than to be in such a poor congregation as theirs. One question was raised among the Fathers: Is this
Mr. Alexander dreaming of becoming a Bishop? They did not have enough knowledge about his
previous life. If he is handling himself well in words, these should be verified by his actions.

April 24, 1551

Again, the whole community gathered together. They listened to Alexander who was showing a
great desire to be admitted to the Congregation.                                                                       
 Question: What is it that you do not like about the life of this community?
Answer: Kneeling before the father Superior is just something strange to me.
Question: What do you like to do? What is your greatest natural inclination?
Answer: I like to study; there’s no doubt about it. I want to become a great scholar, but I feel that in this I am only moved by pride more than anything else.
Question: Are you afraid of not being able to persevere in your choice of religious life?
Answer: If the grace of being accepted in this Congregation would be granted to me, I would never separate myself from it. I love Christ, and everything in this world is already a waste to me.
Question: Will you be happy to be far away from your father and the other members of your household?
Answer: Yes. Most of the time, actually, I withdraw myself from them. I go to the country villa or to other solitary places just to be far away from them.
Question: How come?
Answer: I have a character different from my father and my relatives. Besides, I find it difficult to pray at home. I try to avoid anything that might be a detriment to my spiritual activity.
Fr. Superior, Marta, intervened.
Question: Have you reflected well that you who were used to be given honors at home have to obey a master who is of a social status inferior to yours? How will you act? Will you be humble? Will you obey your Master? Will you be willing to break your own will? Did you ponder it well that you who were used to being served, will now have to serve others? Fr. Paul Melso insisted that Alexander was only motivated by cowardliness. That to Alexander entering
 religious life was more of an expedient, since he felt unable to continue his studies. If this
was the case, Alexander should hurry in rectifying his intention. Fr. Melso also doubted that Alexander’s request was anything but an escape from the responsibilities of life.
Question: Which virtues are dearest to you?
Answer: It’s humility and chastity.
Question: How do you think you will you be able to obtain these virtues?
Answer: By enduring insults. By not giving so much thought when I’m considered of little account. I’m determined to accept any trial. If I suffer, I will say to myself: “This is what I am looking for; this is what I desire.”
Question: What made you fall in love with these virtues? Did you read about them in books?
Answer: These two virtues were the virtues that made the Most Holy Virgin immensely pleasing to the Divine Majesty.
Question: What do you think will help you observe better the discipline of the Congregation?
Answer: Rising early for Matins [Morning Prayers], or prostrating myself during meditation, limiting myself to reading books that obedience will allow, and by doing the manual work willingly.  These, I believe, will help me observe better the discipline that will be imposed on me. He was warned that in the Congregation they aimed at the renunciation of the will and the mortification of certain intellectual fancies. Therefore, he should think it over if he was ready to accept what he was told.

Alexander added that sometimes during prayer he felt uneasy. Finally, he was advised to think over his decision for the next ten to twelve days, to dedicate himself to prayer, and to show deeds that would prove that his intentions were sincere, with the help of Christ Crucified and of the Fathers. They would reconvene [to consider Alexander’s request].
May 15, 1551
Finally the proposal was made to accept Alexander into the Congregation and to give him the habit.  The conclusion was: eleven Fathers voted to accept him only on trial, four wanted to give him the habit, three to try him while staying at his own house, and one had the opinion that he was made for them.

May 16, 1551
Mr. Alexander was admitted to the chapter. He repeated his request to be accepted into the Barnabites. Further questions were asked. Then Alexander was dismissed from the chapter. The Fathers now met to consider their opinions about him. Finally, after so much consideration, it was decided, almost unanimously, that Alexander be admitted to the Congregation. But first, he had to talk to his father. However, Alexander was not yet ready to do this.

On Saturday, May 17, 1551, the Vigil of Pentecost, that the Fathers asked the young
Alexander Sauli to carry a large cross through the streets of Milan, dressed as an Imperial Page

May 17, 1551, Pentecost
Having called the chapter together, it was decided that Mr. Alexander, son of Mr. Dominic Sauli, and Mr. Jerome Pisoni from Venice be accepted into the Congregation. However, both of them have to be tried to discern their suitability.

It was on Saturday, May 17, 1551, the Vigil of Pentecost, that the Fathers asked the young Alexander to carry a large cross through the streets of Milan, dressed as an Imperial Page, and to preach in public about the love for God and the renunciation of the world. This would give them a clear sign that he was willing to shun human respect and was ready to follow Christ. This should also be a proof that his choice was authentic. Garishly dressed with the heavy cross on his shoulders, he crossed the city. When he reached the square called Piazza dei Mercanti, he asked a vendor for his stand. He erected the cross on it, and with great fervor he addressed the crowd about the worship of God and the love of neighbor. The same message would later become the outline of his own life: giving himself to God through others.

When he went back to St. Barnabas, the Fathers embraced him and welcomed him as one of them. Alexander gave his sword to one of his servants and told him to bring it back to his father.
Alexander was received as a postulant. 

The Religious Formation
At first Alexander was assigned to help the sacristans. Knowing how tough it would be for him to get up early, he asked to be the one to ring the bell to resolve once and for all his problem. Since he had been told to be more reserved, indeed almost cold, he asked to help at the door: this daily contact with all kinds of people will form in him that amiable character praised later in him as a natural gift. He devoured books, but he realized that often curiosity was controlling his desire to learn; therefore, he decided not to have more than one book at a time in his room. In other words he took seriously his religious formation.  
On the feast of the Assumption, August 15, 1551, he received the habit and started his three years novitiate. His master was Fr. Paul Omodei, one of the very first Fathers of the Congregation who had been admitted by the Holy Founder himself. Very humble, open and understanding, he seemed more like a big brother than a Master, generating an attitude of full trust and confidence. Some of the Confreres did not agree with this situation and in the Chapter of May 8, 1552, they requested that the Master be harsher with the novices, and encourage that a proper manner be shown with their superior.  At that time the novices used to participate in the Community Chapters; therefore, the Fathers immediately addressed the specific case of the novice Sauli having acting in a too familiar manner with the Master. The minutes deserve to be transcribed as they outlined Alexander's personality with its defects and virtues, regarding the ebullience of his youth: 
The Chapter then, addressed Mr. Alexander, noting many of his imperfections, such as little reverence shown toward the Sacrament while working in church, great ineptitude in his work in the sacristy, little reverence toward the priests in the house, in his studies, unstable and full of curiosity, his bourgeois attitude, his lukewarmness, presuming too much in his studies, and many other things. He was told to write them down and to bring them to the Father Master, diligently trying to amend himself.

The minutes were written by Fr. Raimondi, a Canon from Udine, who later left the Congregation and who, may have disliked Alexander's somewhat open and easy going character; but part of it must have been true if on January 15, 1553, the Discreets, in their chapter, considered "some ways and words of little reverence, subjection and humility of Mr. Alexander". Notice that it is still Fr. Raimondi who wrote the minutes. For sure holiness must be conquered, and from now on these doubts about him disappear.

        So the novice Sauli took part in the Community Chapter, and the minutes report at least two important circumstances. First of all, in October 1552, he took part in the many sessions during which the first Constitutions of the Order were discussed and finally approved. Alexander's opinions and proposals were very balanced, and almost all of them were accepted and incorporated in the text, except when he showed his youthful enthusiasm or interest such as reducing the novitiate from three years to one year. He experienced also the agony of the official Apostolic Visit, which caused many confreres to leave. He too was confronted with the question to leave or not, but he persevered, exhorting all not to get involved in the business of others but to have blind trust in obedience.
A letter signed by St. Alexander Sauli, barnabite
       During the second year of novitiate, the Master was changed: on May 8, 1553, Fr. Omodei was elected Descreet, so Fr. John Peter Besozzi became Master. He understood that Alexander's thirst for knowledge could not be constantly mortified, so he proposed to allow him to follow regular theological studies together with Jerome Pisoni, at the Franciscans of St. Mary's of Peace, not far from St. Barnabas. On August 30, the proposal was approved and from then on Alexander was not listed anymore among those working in the sacristy or church, obviously so he could concentrate on his studies.
       In the April of the following year the Master was changed again as Fr. Besozzi became Superior General. The novices were entrusted to Fr. Jerome Marta. It was to him that Alexander presented the three petitions for the profession of the vows on August 3 and 9, and September 1, 1554. He professed his vows on September 29 in the hands of Fr. Besozzi:

     For the honor and praise of the Holy Trinity I, Alexander, son of Dominic Sauli, cleric, promise to God, to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to Paul the Apostle, and to the whole heavenly cohort, in front of you and our Congregation, to observe in perpetuity chastity, and I renounce all my things and promise to you Father General John Peter, and to all your successors, the due obedience according to the Constitutions of the Clerics of St. Paul. I myself, Alexander, by my own hand have written, signed, and by my own mouth have declared it.
Relics of St. Alexander Sauli, bishop

This formula was laid on the altar by the chalice and the host, so that the sacrifice of Alexander's life could be united to the eucharistic sacrifice of Christ. His motto then became a reality: "EGO TIBI TOTUS, TOTUS TIBI SOLI”, which translates "I offer my whole self to You, to You only"; He continued his formation program until April 26, 1556, when the Fathers felt he was mature enough to be removed from the discipline of the novitiate, and was elected librarian. On December 22, 1554, he received the Subdiaconate together with John Paul Sacchi and Tito Degli Alessi, and the Diaconate on June 8, 1555. Due to his young age he had to wait for a special dispensation for the priestly ordination, which was granted on February 7, 1556, so the ordination took place on March 21, 1556, when he was 22. He celebrated his First Mass on April 12, Sunday after Easter, after a three week retreat.

Meanwhile, he had been entrusted with the teaching in church the letters of St. Paul. He attracted a vast audience, including famous orators, like Francis Pignarola who told Sauli's nephew: "As a friar, I preached as a peasant. I have learned from your uncle how to preach as a pastor of the Church. Rather, few days ago Cardinal Federigo Borromeo has confided to me that he too has learned from him how to preach".

But Alexander Sauli did not follow the career of the pulpit. Divine Providence made him a father and a shepherd.

First ministry in Pavia
Alexander Sauli was the youngest of the Barnabites who luckily had a curriculum of studies behind him. He was followed by other young men who were without a formation in humanities, creating a problem for the Fathers since up to then only mature and professional people had applied. Divine Providence took care of the problem.

When the Grand Duke Gian Galeazzo Sforza got very sick, his mother, Bona of Savoy, and his wife, Isabelle of Aragona, made a vow that if he should get well, they would build a church in Pavia in honor of the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary painted on a wall of the Canepanova palace. The Duke did get well, and the church was built, designed by Bramante. Before it was even finished, it was served by not too zealous hired priests. To insure regular and stable services, they needed a well established religious congregation. They approached the Barnabites who accepted more than gladly since the church was close to the University, therefore giving them the opportunity to open there a house of studies for their clerics which was going to be the first house of the Order after the establishment of the Motherhouse of St. Barnabas in 1547.

Since Fr. Sauli was very familiar with the city and the University, he was the first Father to be assigned there as a preacher, soon to be joined by his two Masters, Fr. Besozzi and Fr. Omodei, creating a most homogeneous and harmonious community.

At first Alexander did not do anything extraordinary: celebration of the Mass, confessions like the other two confreres, except, perhaps for gathering the children to play and to be catechized.  The University students attending the church were the ones to ask Fr. Sauli for help in their studies. He accepted, creating something of an independent department called then an "academy". On February 2, 1560, Fr. Sauli celebrated the opening Mass of the Holy Spirit and started weekly conferences on St. Paul and daily repetitions of the University subjects which were divided in three groups: theology, philosophy (or medicine) and law.

He dedicated himself to pastoral work with intuitions way ahead of his time. He favored frequent communion and the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, founded schools for religious instructions, offered the people lectures on the Letters of St. Paul, and organized groups at the University.

At that time the teaching method had three stages: lectures by the professors, repetitions by the assistants, and the "circuit among the students themselves for a better understanding of the subject. Alexander changed the approach. Instead of the subject matter he put the student at the center, creating around him a background suitable to him, and checking his progress through creative methods instead of repetitions. He wrote to Fr. General that his purpose was: "to bind together the light of science with the fire of charity." A born educator, he loved the young and he knew how to make them love him. He was always aiming high, instilling in them an instinctive hate for mediocrity. The teaching was geared to the intelligence and ability of each student, widening their interest to other subjects and aiming at a harmonious development of the individual spiritually, intellectually, and physically. He gave ample space to disputes, knowing how well the students would prepare themselves, thereby acquiring self-confidence while clarifying the ideas they were presenting.

Seeing the success that Fr. Sauli was having, the Fathers did not hesitate to open a house of studies for their clerics, although open to other clerics and lay people as well. Fr. Sauli gave daily classes in theology and philosophy. His method again was innovative. For example, in presenting Aristotle he used the original Greek version avoiding the awful Latin translation of the time and he himself prepared a lexicon to understand better  the terminology. In theology St. Thomas was a requirement, and the students used to say that if the text of the Summa should get lost it was no problem because Fr. Sauli knew it by heart! St. Thomas was integrated with St. Bonaventure, the Fathers of the Church, especially St. John Chrysostrom and St. Gregory the Great, and modern authors like Savonarola.

How innovative Alexander was is shown by the subsidiary subjects that he introduced, such as geometry which "makes the heart attentive and orderly", and law, so that the students could protect themselves in a world engulfed in never ending legal battles. For the Law of the Church, it was Fr. Sauli who suggested to his friend Marcantonio Cucci the preparation of a systematic and well organized exposition of all church laws which was published in 1565 after being revised by him.

Until now Fr. Sauli had no official degree of any kind, although he received the Baccalaureate with a public dispute that he held, between May 30 and June 1, 1560, on 150 theological theses, this was dedicated to the President of the Senate of Milan, Pierpaolo Arrigoni. It is also true that the rector of the "Artists" (philosophers and doctors), had offered him a chair of philosophy at the University, but the Superior, Fr. Besozzi,  said no, without even notifying Fr. Sauli: the Barnabites were afraid that such a position would lead to vain-glory, and to the ruin of their characteristic humility. Anyway in 1562, Fr. Sauli had to substitute Philip Zaffiro, professor of philosophy, lecturing for a semester on the second book of the "De Anima." His success and the public’s demand convinced the Fathers to allow him to pursue an official degree. After his graduation on May 28, 1563, he became a member of the College of Professors of theology, and three years later he was their dean. The Academic Senate dispensed him from the private examination, usually done to test the preparation of a candidate, and for the public exam they allowed him only half a day instead of the customary full day. The subjects selected at random for his exam were: in philosophy "The unity of the creating principle" by Peter Lombard and in theology the "De sacramentis in genere". As a sign of distinction, the examiners were only senior professors. It was his mentor Anthony Aosta, Superior General of the Franciscan Conventuals, who bestowed on him the doctoral insignia according to traditions: books at first entrusted to him closed, and then opened to symbolize an ongoing need for further studies and renewal, the black hat, symbol of theology, and a golden ring on the right hand, followed by the  kiss of peace and a blessing.

Instead of a permanent job at the University Father Sauli preferred to concentrate on the private school of the Order.  Besides, the Bishop of Pavia, Ippolito de Rossi, had also made him his private theologian, examiner of the clergy, lector for the cases of conscience, and an associate for pastoral visits. At the University he participated at the meetings of the professors of theology, gave special lectures and worked on the revision of books.    
     In the house of studies, he concentrated on the preparation of a most complete curricula. A brilliant mind, he had the gift "for easy explanation. In few words he could present his thought very well.  It did not matter how intellectual or difficult they might be", Fr. Bellarmino testified at the Apostolic Process. Books at the time were very scarce, so he republished Savonarola's "Confessionale," adapting it to the documents of the Council of Trent, published a treatise on Marriage, an Enchiridion for professors and for those to be ordained, a manual for "Moral Decisions". In his humility he published all of them anonymously, but in the second edition De Rossi revealed the name of the true author.

One of his unique gifts as a professor was to consider himself unnecessary, that is, he was ready to allow room for new and fresher minds. So in 1563, he gave his philosophy chair to Basilio Bonfanti, a young cleric who already spoke perfect Latin, Greek and Hebrew. Two years later Fr. Sauli was his mentor in the public defense of his 200 philosophy and theology theses, dedicated to his own father, Dominic Sauli, who, from his house in Pavia, was following with great pride his son's progress. The year before he had donated to the Fathers his rich and private library.

A pontifical vestment
of St. Alexander Sauli, CRSP
Fr. Sauli and Milan
Alexander fame was not limited to Pavia. In Milan, where he went every year for the General Chapter, he was very much appreciated and his services sought. In September 1564, St. Charles, officially not yet in Milan, ordered the celebration of the Diocesan Synod. Fr. Sauli was invited and happened to be the youngest member, and he was entrusted with the draft of the final document. The following year the city celebrated the first Provincial Council and Fr. Sauli had to draft the document "De Contractibus illicitis". Moreover, together with Fr. Bonfanti, he had prepared the most difficult document, "De officio Parochi", and his was the final draft of 1565.

In May 1556, Alexander was in Milan again for the General Chapter. This time St. Charles was in town and asked him to draft a program of reform for the Franciscan Conventuals. The program was so successful that St. Charles expressed the desire to have Fr. Sauli close by him in Milan. This came to the knowledge of Dominic Sauli, who wrote to the Fathers in Milan not to deprive him, in his old age, of the presence of his son in Pavia. Fr. General Besozzi wrote to him on July 19: "Our intention has always been to please you, but we cannot promise anything more since we do not know the future needs of the Congregation". It was a gentle way of saying that Alexander could not stay always in Pavia and, indeed, the following year, at the young age of 33, he was elected Superior General.

Superior General (1566-1569)
Fr. Orazio Premoli, in the biography he wrote in 1904, when Sauli was canonized, said: "As he was, at the young age of 33, elected Superior General of a Religious Congregation, whose members were somewhat elderly, he under stood right away that he had no other means to exemplify except through a  good example. To be superior meant for him first of all to lead in the rigorous observance of the Rule, and to be heroically faithful to the vows. His piety was such that, even in the midst of his many duties, he would take advantage of every moment available to go to the choir where, behind the altar, he could be closer to the Lord, as he used to say, and be absorbed in prayer."

A learned man like few others, with a unique ability for government, Fr. Alexander carried on his duties with great skill becoming the legislator and the living model for the Barnabites. He is venerated as the "second Founder" because he gave new vigor to the Order, propelling it with trust into the future.

On November 24 he presented to the local Chapter a personal problem: "The Rules say that the Superior at least once a week must call the community together for the collatio, according to the tradition of our forefathers; in the past few years this has not been followed so what do we do?" The obvious decision was to re-establish the tradition which was confirmed in the General Chapter of 1568 (May 5).

On August 5 he had an unpleasant surprise as Attilio Gritti, a gentleman from Novara, presented himself with pontifical documents claiming possession of the church and house of St. Barnabas. Alexander right away contested the claim and the validity of the documents since Gritti's uncle had donated the church and the house to the Barnabites at the time of Paul III. He entrusted the case into the hands of St. Charles Borromeo, who obtained from Pius IV the solution of the case. It was on this occasion that the Pope wrote those words so dear to our Congregation: "You know what a great service the Lord God receives in the church from the Fathers of St. Barnabas, and I protect them because of their blameless life and their holy exercises."

One of Alexander's major concerns was regular life and the wisdom of internal rules. As a good canon lawyer he made sure that all regulations would comply with the new Counciliar guidelines from Trent.
In 1568 he called an extraordinary Chapter to deal with the Divine Office. The Congregation had adopted the Quinones version of the Breviary to be sung in recto tono. In 1568 Pius V published the new Breviary eliminating all previous editions. The Chapter (September 10-15) adopted the new Breviary keeping the recto tono recitation.

Fr. Sauli made great contributions to the interior life of the Order. He wrote rules for the novices and gave guidelines for the curriculum of sacred and profane studies, and for preaching. Under his guidance and expertise everything was working better than ever.

He was in charge of the Angelic Sisters at the Monastery of St. Paul, and of the "Submitted to the Crucified Lord," to whom he gave regular conferences, and with whom he kept regular correspondence even from Corsica.

In April 1569, the Bishop of Vicenza, through the recommendation of St. Charles, tried to convince the Fathers to return to his city for the reformation of the monasteries. Alexander answered:
"Yes, on condition that the Serenissima (Venice) will revoke the ban of 1552." Venice's answer was that by now the whole thing had been forgotten, so that they were welcomed back in the Republic. Alexander did not accept  those conditions, but in deference to the Bishop, he sent over Fr. Berna for a few months.                 .               
When in 1554 the Countess Torelli left the Angelics, she took with her all the benefits even whatever had been given to the monastery. They had survived through the generosity of Julia Sfondrati, but with great tension between the two ladies, St. Charles asked Fr. Sauli for the Angelics, and the Jesuit Leonetto Clavonio for the Torelli, to resolve the controversy.

His term as Superior General was a period of true renewal for the Order, renewal to be carried out fully by St. Charles. After the shock of 1552 everything was renewed: better structures, rekindling of the original fervor, the members were reinforced with much better quality. Some of those who had left came back to St. Barnabas. The life  inside was serene and orderly once again. The apostolate expanded to new foundations. Therefore, we can understand the shock of the Barnabites at the announcement that Fr. Sauli would be a Bishop. St. Charles wrote to Rome: "I cannot avoid to mention to Your Holiness the great worry prevailing among the fathers of St. Barnabas, because of the great damage coming to their Congregation with the loss of this man, as it relies on his prudent government with great help from his knowledge, in which, truthfully, there is no equal; and also there is no one like him capable to govern, because some Fathers, due to their age, are apt to  fatigue, while the others do not have the necessary maturity." But the interest of the Church prevailed over the one of the Congregation, and Alexander became a Bishop.

The co-operator of St. Charles Borromeo
We have already seen how Fr. Sauli participated in the first Synod of the Diocese of Milan, and in the first Provincial Council,  how he was entrusted with various tasks by St. Charles. When in 1567 he was elected Superior General, Fr. Sauli fell completely inside the circle of the Cardinal, becoming his intimate friend, counselor, and confessor.  Almost daily he was consulted for his wisdom and prudence.  Today we can admire at the altar of the Sacred Heart the reliquary donated to him by St. Charles.

Almost every day, for one reason or another, he had to report to the Cardinal's office, so that the Fathers complained that they had elected a Superior General not the Cardinal's secretary.  But the senior Fathers did not mind  at all because this forced the small Congregation to come out of the shell in which it had been hiding since their expulsion from Venice. The archbishop was very impartial in calling on all the Fathers according to their activities and talents for specific cases to be resolved.

St. Charles found refuge at St. Barnabas once a month.  Moreover, he  spent the whole Holy Week with the Community. At first he used Fr. Sauli for delicate and secret missions, such as peace among spouses and families, and delicate cases of conscience. He immediately noticed his prudence and common sense, such as when he wanted to reduce the grate of the monastery of St. Martha. The nuns rebelled, and Fr. Sauli counselled him to leave them alone "because it is not really important if the parlor is made one way or the other."

Fr. Sauli showed a great balance in his judgment and decision making passing over secondary items to reach the core of the issue. It would be one of his life characteristics.  St. Charles had known him as a man of knowledge and as a counsellor, but since 1568 he discovered in him the man of God. From Mantua he asked the Fathers of St. Barnabas to send him anyone for a general confession. Fr. Sauli was sent, which made St. Charles exclaim: "They have sent me the Superior himself, to my great satisfaction." From then on the two became like one soul, and later St. Charles said: "From then on I almost started a new course in my spiritual life not taking into consideration at all my previous accomplishments." A particular episode shows their intimacy. When St. Charles miraculously escaped an attempt on his life, he questioned Fr. Sauli: "What spiritual benefit should 1 draw for my soul from it," and Fr. Sauli answered: "To humble yourself and reflect if God has allowed it in punishment for some of your defects," and then questioned him if he was ready to face God's judgment with simplicity and frankness.

We can say that in 1568, during the long permanence of St. Charles in Mantua, and while the Vicar General, Msgr. Castelli, was hiding in St. Barnabas, Fr. Sauli was to all practical purposes the administrator of the archdiocese, as proved from the long list of practical decisions taken by him as shown in the correspondence between the two. For sure the Second Diocesan Synod of 1569 was completely readied in St. Barnabas.
     Only on one occasion did St. Charles not obtain his wish. He wanted to resolve once and for all the chronic poverty of the Congregation, and to save the Order of the Humiliates, who were absolutely averse to any kind of reform. The Barnabites  gained 94 rich houses and 150 new members, while their religious spirit  finally brought the reform among the Humiliates. But Fr. Sauli was adamant in his refusal because the union would have been an endless source of internal fights, since the Humiliates did not believe at all in the need for reform. There would have been almost twice as many as the Barnabites, therefore uncontrollable. This would have caused the ruin of St. Barnabas’ good religious spirit. St. Charles even tried an intervention from Rome, but Pius V, well aware of the conditions of the Friars, understood well Fr. Sauli's objections. When the Friar Jerome Donati made the famous attempt on the life of St. Charles, the Pope suppressed the Order once and for all with a decree signed on February 8, 1571, when Fr. Sauli was already in Corsica.

From letters written when Fr. Sauli was elected Bishop, it seems that St. Charles thought that the new Bishop was being wasted  in Corsica, and tried on various occasions to have him transferred back to his Province,  always crashing against Alexander's humility, who wanted to "leave his bones in Corsica."

St. Alexander was defined as the St. Charles of Corsica, and it is true that on the rough island he demonstrated the same enthusiasm and apostolic zeal of his great friend in Milan. For example, in 1580 when a terrible pestilence devastated the island, he ordered a penitential procession asking only one member per family to walk at a certain distance from each other.  

With great regret Bishop Sauli could not attend St. Charles funeral, but he furnished Fr. Besozzi with many insights and episodes for the publication of his biography, "because," he wrote from Campoloro on June 8, 1585, "until 1570 I too can say many things, since that Holy Soul has communicated to me the most important things that have happened to him."

Pope Pius V was very careful in the appointment of new bishops selecting them from new Religious Congregations still breathing the original spirit and who were ready to implement the new directives of the Council of Trent.

In a letter to the Doge of Genoa, Cardinal Cicada wrote: "This morning February 10, 1570, in a Consistory, the Pope has provided for the Church of Aleria in the person of the Rev. Alexander Sauli, as His Holiness has great trust in the virtues and goodness of this priest for the reformation of the religious and good customs of this island. May the good Lord bring to fruition the pious intentions of His Holiness, who has been motivated by no other aim but the service of God and the salvation of souls, according to the good reports he has received about him, although he has never met or known him." 

In Milan the news caused great unrest among the Barnabites who implored St. Charles to avert such a disaster. He wrote to his man in Rome, Msgr. Ormaneto: "Having notified the Superior of St. Barnabas about the decision of Our Lord to give him the care of the Church ofAleria in Corsica, he, for the humble esteem of himself, has stated not to be qualified: which I do not agree with, as I know very well his qualifications. This is why I have waited to formulate the proper papers, and I send them with the other ordinary courier. Meanwhile I cannot avoid to present to His Holiness the great worry of the old Fathers of this Congregation, whom I have notified about it. Then, I know too how the city at large will suffer because of it, since the Superior is very useful to it in so many ways, such as conferences and confessions, and other spiritual services, and his prudent counsel, of which I avail myself regularly. If, then, Our Lord believes that he will render greater service to God in his new vocation, he is a son of obedience."

To prepare himself to follow God's will, together with St. Charles, Fr. Sauli went to the Carthusian abbey in Carignano for a retreat.  Writing to his father, Alexander stated: "The effort I have endured here as Superior General seems to me like roses in comparison with what I am starting to experience as a Bishop." His old father exhorted him to trust God. He prepared himself for the Episcopal consecration in total seclusion, comforted by a Breve of January 17, with which Pius V granted him to be consecrated by St. Charles.

The ceremony took place in the Cathedral of Milan on March 12, with Ippolito de Rossi, Bishop of Pavia, and Federico Comer, Bishop of Bergamo, as concelebrants. St. Charles provided and donated to him all the Episcopal vestments.

Meanwhile Pius V had notified him to bring along to Aleria at least a dozen confreres to help him in his apostolate. But the Community could afford only four, three priests, Vincent Corti, Thomas Gambaldi, Francis Stauli, and one Brother, John Battista.

Apostle of Corsica (1570-1590)
At the end of April, 1570, Alexander Sauli, his four confreres and a few servants landed in Corsica, which, at that time, was in  pitiful condition. The island had not seen a Bishop in 70 years, falling into a most miserable physical, social, human, and Christian condition.
The first impact was very harsh because the episcopal residence had been destroyed during the war, but most of all he realized that the spiritual reconstruction had to start from scratch. He did not get discouraged, and we must not be scandalized by the situation. Seminaries did not exist yet, and in Corsica there were no schools or universities. Only a few priests could be educated in the main land, while the others were learning a little from those who knew a little more than them. Still faith was alive.
On May 18, 1570, the new Bishop wrote to St. Charles describing the miserable conditions:

To the most reverend and honorable
Monsignor Cardinal Borromeo, in Milan

Most Reverend and honorable my Lord:

It has pleased the Divine Majesty to allow me to reach safe and sound Corsica, and I feel obliged to send you, my reverend greetings and give you news about conditions of my  Church of Aleria. 
With this letter of mine I do not delay in paying my debt, as I inform you that, as I reached Bastia, I had to stop therefore ten days to get the provisions for the daily living. During that time I received the visit of many of the priests of my diocese: I did not find one who knows Latin, rather many do not even know how to write. I leave to your Illustrious Lordship, to imagine the moral situation here in Corsica, where for a long time there have been wars, where the Bishops did not usually  reside in their diocese. My episcopal residence had been the sea and habitation of the guerrilla fighter, Dampiero the Corso, and it has registered more tumults and rebellions than any other section of the island.

I am still in Corte, a devastated area and in ruins. The Fathers of St. Prahcis have prepared for me two little rooms, half the ones in St. Barnabas. Luckily I have with me only eight persons. Nor can I think to stay here, because the Friars have told me that my overstay would cause too much disturbance in their regular observance; and it seems to me that they are right, because there is a continous come and go of people, and if any one wishes to come to my room, he is forced to cross through the Friars’ refectory.

What really worries me is that the town is in such ruins and devastation that I am not able to find, what should I say, a house for eighteen people between servants and Fathers that I am taking with me by order of His Holiness, where even two can  live. Nor do I have the possibility to build , myself a room, in the Capuchin style, as I have intention to do next year, if God keeps me in life, due to the many expenses I have to face. 

During the year I will take residence in Bastid, where I think to stay until harvest time, since in the present moment there is great scarcity. Then 1 will start the pastoral visit and toward November, I will have the diocesan synod. For the rest of the time 1 will try always to keep with me some of the priests to instruct them, in the vernacular, the most necessary things about the administration of the Sacraments, and the salvation of souls.

For the rest I will follow God's inspiration every day.
I have nothing else to write/or now. I close kissing the hands of your Lordship and declare myself a very devout servant. May the Lord God keep you. From Corte, May 18, 1570.  
Your Lordship and reverend devout servant, the Bishop of Aleria

He established himself in precarious and humble dwellings and started immediately the visitation of the whole Diocese, entailing great and severe sacrifices, to bring to all the Word of God "like a beneficial rain that the good Lord sends on a field for long time arid and destroyed." By the end of August he was able to hold a synod with 150 priests present to set up rules and regulations.

The synod became an annual event of three days. Albert Grozio, the Bishop's secretary wrote: "He took advantage of these days to live  heart to heart with his priests who were in invited, if they wanted, to live with him at his own expenses. He ate with them, talked with each one of them, and was generous in his charity. To instruct them he used to create cases of conscience, going over liturgical formulas, dogmatic or moral principles, and counciliar and ecclesiastical documents. At the end of the synod most of the priests had to face a most arduous trip back home, so he used to prepare for them and their laity, abundant provisions, giving them horses, wine, or whatever could be useful for the trip."

With the passing years he provided his clergy with various booklets of instructions including a simplified edition of the Roman catechism so much praised by St. Francis de Sales.

In the following years he often changed residence to be able to have a good knowledge of his people. He founded a seminary in Bastia, and he dedicated himself to all, in spite of his sickness, like malaria and high fever, which few times brought him to the point of death.

The factional enmity, the famines, and droughts very much tested St. Alexander's charity, and he excelled so much to draw many to follow his example. Enemies are never lacking, even for those doing good, and there was one individual who even made  an attempt on his life.

The Corsicans were transformed by him, and they thought to be able to keep him for life. When the news reached them that the Republic of Genoa wanted him to be the coadjutor of the archbishop with the right of succession, they mobilized themselves. With tears in their hearts they begged the Pope and the Republic to change their decision. The letter they sent to the Pope is a long list of warm praises by a people redeemed, claiming the presence of its liberator. Their prayers were not in vain as the Saint was able to stay for another seven years to bring to completion his mission of charity and peace among the Corsicans.

Bishop of Pavia (1591-1592)
What the Corsicans  feared in 1584 became a reality in 1591: Pope Gregory XIV, who in Pavia had used Alexander Sauli as his spiritual director, named him successor of Cardinal Ippolito De Rossi, as Bishop ofPavia. The nomination gave great joy to the people of Pavia, but caused tears all over Corsica, tears which accompanied the shepherd to the boat taking him to Rome.

He remained there for two weeks, spending some time in Genoa and at St. Barnabas in Milan, before taking possession of his new diocese on October 19, 1591.

Before dismounting from the horse in front of the Cathedral, seeing the great pomp prepared for him, he said to those close by him: "Vanity of earthly honors; in less than a year this festival pomp will change into mourning and tears." Prophetic words!

The charity which had made him famous in Corsica immediately became  one of his outstanding virtues also in Pavia, since a severe famine had made prices of vital items, such as wheat, climb out of reach. On the first Sunday after his entry, he celebrated a solemn pontifical Mass during which, in simple and clear words, he expressed his desire to be the father of the poor, ready to give them whatever he would receive. As a first sign of his commitment, he ordered four noblemen, and his helpers to distribute  a purse with one hundred golden scuds. His action was so contagious it generated a chain reaction in generosity throughout that day, bringing the purse to a very sizeable amount.

Wanting to have a first hand knowledge of his diocese, he started a pastoral visit right away, planning to close it with a synod. His predecessor had left a healthy situation, but he wanted to make it even better. He introduced and promoted the Forty Hours Devotions to nourish his own spiritual life and that of his faithful. He dedicated himself also to pastoral services visiting hospitals, monasteries, and schools. His house was considered as a Heaven on earth not only by his household but by all the faithful.

Death and Glory (1592-1741-1904)
Although for some time he had been sick on and off with fever, Alexander Sauli toward the end of September, 1592, started the pastoral visit of his new diocese.

After presiding  at the ordinations in Bursignano, he reached Colosso d'Asti, where he dedicated October 1 to the usual tasks: preaching, catechesis, confirmations, and personal encounters. That night he got sick with fever and gout. Not wanting to disturb the local parish priest, he decided to accept the invitation by the Count Ercole Roero, one of his disciples and good friend, to lodge in his castle. After ten days, the Saint, well prepared and consoled by the presence of some Barnabites, died in the Lord. It was Sunday, October 11, 1592.  A few days before he had said: "Don't think that I am dying because of the efforts of this pastoral visit; be convinced that this is the hour fixed by God. If I should start all over what I have done, I would do it over again. For a pastor it is a duty to give his life for his flock. I thank God for allowing me to die serving His Church in the midst of my apostolate."

 The body was brought to Pavia on October 14, and the next day the solemn funeral took place. His universal fame as a saint spread immediately and grew steadily: he was considered a saint endowed with heroic virtues. The unanimous consensus and great devotion, especially in Pavia, led, in 1623, to the initiation of the canonical process for the beatification. On April 23, 1741, Benedict XIV proclaimed him blessed.

The political and religious events of the 1700's and 1800's put on trial the life of religious orders; therefore, the journey toward canonization experienced a very long pause. Anyway, after the Holy Founder reached the glory of the altar in 1897, Alexander Sauli too reached the same honor. On December 11, 1904, Pius X inscribed him among the saints of the universal Church. The two required miracles, certified and approved by a diocesan and apostolic trial, had taken place one in 1899, in Bastia, Corsica, to the 20 year old Maria Canessa, and the other in Monza, in 1741, during the celebration of his beatification, the cure of a certain Carlo Riva who had been paralyzed for more than a year.
A piece of  St Alexander's cross

The Little Flowers of St. Alexander Sauli

Poetic moments of history and spiritual reality 
of St. Alexander taken from the
Apostolic Process

“Months had passed without a drop of rain. Fearing for the harvest, the people of Cervicone begged Bishop Sauli to have a procession to obtain rain. After three days of fast, the procession took place from the Cathedral to the church of St. Francis, where the Bishop started the singing of the Litanies, and other songs, until the blue sky started to get cloudy. At that moment he started to cry, ‘Mercy!’ and the whole people joined in. After the third cry, the rain poured down. There was so much water that the people had to stay in church for three hours to wait for the rain to stop.” (Friar Sisto Negroni, p.43)

Maimed Healed
“Bartholomew of Cervicone, the treasurer of the Confraternity of the Holy Cross, stole a certain amount of money that belonged to the Confraternity. One day, he had an accident. He fell while going fishing. This left him crippled. Bishop Sauli met him one day and told him, ‘Oh, Bartholomew, you will never be healed unless you pay back your debt.’ Bartholomew, wishing to be healed, sold a piece of his chestnut wood and paid what he owed. After that, he went to confession, received communion, and asked the blessing of the Bishop. From that day on, he showed constant improvement until he was perfectly healed. I have been a personal eyewitness of these events.” (James Alfonsi, p. I08)

Half Bath
“I went once with Bishop Sauli by carriage to St. Mary in Pertica, toward Milan. We had to cross an irrigation canal called Carona. I told the coachman to go further north since the water was too deep. However, rushing carelessly, we went right into the water. The Bishop got wet to his knees. I was quick enough to raise my feet, so I got wet only to my ankles. I got mad at the coachman and scolded him. The Bishop smiled. He tried to calm me down, telling me to take things as part of the joys of life. He did so even though he was more wet than I was.” (Severino Bellingeri, p. 111) 

The Best Job
“While still a cleric, I went to Pavia for the admission exam to the Holy Orders.  Monsignor Sauli asked me, ‘Why have you come to Pavia?’ I answered, ‘To follow holy obedience.’ And he said, ‘Blessed are you, because your job is better than mine, which is to be a Bishop.’” 
(Fr. Giannambrogio Mazenta, p. 121)

Calming of a Storm
“At the end of our visit to Gregory XIII, Monsignor Sauli, Fr. Ambrose Ruottoli, Fr. Lawrenceda  Corte, Fr. Cesare Fei and I left to go back to Corsica. We embarked  on the boat at the port of Ripa on the Tiber and sailed on. When we reached the island of Elba, a violent storm broke out. We all thought that we would die at that time. Fr. Cesare Fei began to cry, ‘We are going to drown!’ Monsignor answered, ‘Now, we are going to die!’ Fr. Cesare replied, ‘Yes, but not like this!’ Monsignor Sauli then raised his eyes to heaven and prayed. And then he made the sign of the cross on the sea. Right away, the wind died down. We sailed on peacefully until we arrived in Bastia.” (Peter Negri, p. 61-62)

Beneficent Hurricane
“Twenty-two Turkish galleys were heading toward Campoloro after destroying Sartone and Monticello.  The people started to run in panic. They brought a horse to Bishop Sauli so that he could run away. Instead, he refused and asked them all to stay calm because the Turks were not going to land. They all prayed. All of a sudden, a hurricane came. The strong wind kept the galleys from coming close to the shore. And so the galleys left without doing any damage to the place.” (Palmerino Valle, p.113)

Parish Priest
“Three farmers from Pavia who tended some land of their church came to complain about their parish priest concerning the interest rates. Monsignor Sauli welcomed them warmly, but then admonished them for not acting well with their own parish priest. The farmers finally admitted that they had acted wrongly. They then withdrew their complaints. Afterwards, the Bishop called the parish priest, reprimanded him, and warned him not to cause anymore problems to anyone.”
(Baldassarre Landini, p. 107)

Fishers of Corals
“Once, in Solensara, the Turks assailed about sixty boats of fishers of corals. The men, about ten in each boat, swam to safety in Cervicone. As soon as he got the news, Bishop Sauli called the fishers together in church to console them. Then he fed them in his residence. He told them, ‘Dear children, eat because this belongs to you, not to the Bishop.’ The next day, he provided them with bread and money for their trip back home. I was sent by the Bishop to Bastia to prepare the dinner and transportation for those who were not from Corsica.” (Thomas Giorgi, p. 90)

“One day during the Holy Week in Pavia, the Canon Fabio Bottigella accompanied Bishop Sauli  to the reposition chapel. There the Bishop immersed himself in prayer. Three hours had passed, and he was still in prayer, totally unaware of the time. It was almost the time for the ceremony, but he did not move. The Cathedral was already full with people. Three times the Canon pulled his cape, but the Bishop did not move a bit. So he shouted to his ear, ‘Bishop, it is late, the people are waiting.’ Almost like coming back from another world, Bishop Sauli said, ‘Is it a lot that we have been here?’” (Thomas Giorgi, p. 74)


Translated by
Fr. Frank M. Papa, CRSP
Edited by: 
Sr. Rorivic Israel, ASP
Fr. Richard Delzingaro, CRSP
Mrs. Nancy Bellis