St. Paul the First Hermit
St Paul the First Hermit
in the Shrine's Church

During the persecution of the Christians by Caesar Decius in 250, young Paul fled to the Desert in Thebes by the Red Sea and learned to enjoy his solitary life "alone with God alone" so much, that he remained there for the rest of his life. He lived nearly ninety years in prayerful solitude, constant penance, and contemplation of God. Before he died he was discovered by St Anthony the Abbot who spread the news about his holiness.

It is believed that St Paul was kept alive by the fruit of a palm tree and by a raven which daily brought him a piece of bread. He died at the age of 113, at which time, as related by St Anthony, two lions dug a grave for him.

This story is captured in the coat-of-arms of the Order, showing the palm tree, two lions and a raven. The Pauline Order chose St. Paul the First Hermit as its Patron and Patriarch and thus took the name "Order of St. Paul the First Hermit".

The feast of St. Paul is solemnly observed by the Order on January 15th.

In a spirit of appreciation, the Pauline Fathers offer each year a novena of prayers in honour of St. Paul the Hermit for all their benefactors, friends and supporters.

Prayers to Saint Paul the Hermit

A Prayer to Saint Paul the Hermit

O God, who willed that St. Paul achieve a high degree of sanctity through a life of solitude, prayer and penance in the desert, grant that through his intercession, we, who are striving to develop in ourselves the spirit of prayer and service, may come ever closer to you in love.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.



Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy, commonly known as Penrose Park (located in the Southern Highlands, NSW) is a renowned place of veneration of the replica of the Icon of Our Lady of Jasna Góra, known as the Black Madonna.  The Shrine is ministered by the Order of St. Paul the First Hermit known as the Pauline Fathers, who are the custodians of the original Icon of the Black Madonna for more than 630 years.