St. Vincent Pallotti, the founder of the Union of the Catholic Apostolate, was born on April 21, 1795 in Rome as the third of the ten children of Peter Paul Pallotti (1755 - 1837) and Mary Magdelene de Rossi (1765 - 1827). He spent his entire life in the city of Rome. He lived in an age of democratic revolutions. Italy, at this time, was plagued by wars, invasions, and occupation of inimical powers. After the French Revolution, the French army occupied the city of Rome in 1798 and 1800. The French abducted Pope Pius VI in 1798 and imprisoned Pius VII in 1809. A number of secret societies were formed to spearhead revolutionary struggle for Italian unification, and they were anti - establishment, in the social, political and religious levels. St. Vincent lived through this turbulent time of Italian history.
After his initial studies, he was a student at the Sapienza University from 1814 to 1818 and graduated with Doctorates in Philosophy and Theology. He was ordained in 1818. He served as a tutor at the Sapienza University from 1819 1831. As a priest, Vincent was involved in a number of apostolic activities. In 1819 he started Night schools for tradesmen. In 1820 he conducted retreats for youth, public servants and soldiers. He was an active member of twenty -six confraternities. He was busy as confessor for convents and monasteries. In 1827 he was appointed as the Spiritual Director at the Roman College. In 1835, he took up the same office at the Propaganda Fide College. Besides he was the confessor at the Irish, English, Scottish and Greek Colleges. In 1835, he founded the Union of the Catholic Apostolate, a pious society, which attempted to bring together lay people, priests and religious to collaborate in the revival of faith and charity aimed at apostolic action. Significant among the apostolic activities of this society was social service for the poor and the needy, in the city of Rome and in the missions abroad. This society played a great role in the cholera epidemic that ravaged the city of Rome in 1837. The society of St. Vincent also attempted to counter the political manipulations of the secret societies, which attempted to persuade the youth to take the path of rebellion. To animate the union of the catholic apostolate and its activities, he founded the society of the catholic apostolate, a community of Priests and Brothers, and a community of sisters. St. Vincent Pallotti died on January 22, 1850. He was beatified after a century in 1950, and was canonized a saint on January 20, 1963, during the Second Vatican council by Pope John XXIII. According to Pope John, he was "a tireless apostle, director of souls, inspirer of holy enthusiasm and magnificent in his many undertakings." His life cane be characterised by three works: Saint, Apostle and Founder.
As a Saint, he lived in such an intimate union with God that at only 45 years of age, he reached the highest degree of Mysticism: Transforming Union and Spiritual Marriage.
As an Apostle he became intensely involved with the salvation of souls that he intended to work for the good for the Church and the human race, "as if the eternal and universal Priesthood given by the Heavenly Father to our Lord Jesus Christ," was entrusted to him.
As the Founder of the Priests and Brothers, Sisters and Associates of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate, he brought into the mainstream of the Church the idea that unity, coordination and participation of all, especially the laity are essential elements of universal and effective apostolic work within the Church.