THE SPIRITUAL DIARY OF ST. PAUL OF THE CROSS
The Spiritual Diary of St. Paul of the Cross is the oldest preserved document of St. Paul of the Cross, written at the request of his former confessor and spiritual director Bishop Gattinara, Bishop of Alessandria. It in Paul of the Cross recorded his interior lights and insights that occurred during a retreat in a cell near the sacristy of the church of St. Charles in Castellazzo between the dates of 23rd November 1720 and 1st January 1721.
Although the original manuscript was unfortunately not preserved, a reliable handwritten copy of the diary is kept in the Passionist Archives in Rome. Published in 1867 for the first time, it has since been republished and translated into several languages.
Since, on the one hand, the diary is one of the most important sources providing insight into the doctrine of St. Paul of the Cross and since, on the other hand, its original text has not been preserved, it is necessary to relate something about the copy's origin and reliability.
St. Paul of the Cross turned the original manuscript over to Bishop Gattinara, who in turn left it in the possession of Canon Sardi, a young friend of the Paul of the Cross. Two or three weeks prior to Paul's death, the Passionists asked Sardi to send the diary and other writings of St. Paul of the Cross to Rome. In a letter dated 14th October 1775, Sardi replied that he hesitated to send the desired documents to Rome for fear they be lost in the mail (the documents included not only the diary but also many letters written by Paul of the Cross to Bishop Gattinara and to Sardi himself).
Some time after the death of St. Paul of the Cross, Father John Mary Cioni again asked Sardi to send Paul of the Cross' writings to Rome. Sardi first deliberated with his friends the Earl of Canefri and Father John Baptist Stortiglioni, a Capuchin. After both had read the request, Fr. Stortiglioni decided to send the diary along with four or five letters of the saint (addressed to Bishop Gattinara) to the Capuchin Fr. Cherubino da Voghera, who was preaching at the Cathedral at Trodi. Father Cherubino was to deliver the papers to the Passionist Bishop, Thomas Struzzieri, who was then to take the documents to Rome on his next occasion to travel there.
Fr. Cherubino, however, never received the documents. Investigations at the post offices at Alessandria, Bologna, Narni and Todi were to no avail. The original manuscript of Paul's spiritual diary and some of his letters had been lost en route.
Fortunately, Canon Sardi was a very prudent man, and he himself had made a handwritten copy of these important papers. In a written statement, confirmed by oath, Sardi testified that the respective copy was written "in his own hand" letter by letter in conformity with the original, except for superfluous errors made in the course of transcription. Later this copy became the property of the Passionist Generalate in Rome, where it is preserved today.
taken from The Mysticism of the Passion in St. Paul of the Cross by Fr. Martin Bialas, C.P.
Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1990, p. 42 - 44
Read The Spiritual Diary of St. Paul of the Cross
May the Passion of Jesus be always in our hearts