Regarding his life, I would highly recommend the book “Father Paul of Moll” by Edward van Speybrouck. It is available through Tan books here
A Short Sketch of the life of Father Paul of Moll.
"He went about doing good, for the love of Jesus."
Father Paul was born in Moll, a village in the province of Antwerp, Belgium on March 7, 1824, the tenth of eleven children. He was baptised Francis Luyckx, and was the son of Vincent Luyckx and Ann Catherine van Balen. He grew up in the rural countryside as a member of a hard working farming family. He attended the local elementary school and from a young age he felt drawn to the religious life.
Enters the Benedictine Monastery.
At age 24, Francis entered the Benedictine abbey at Termonde (Dendermonde). He received the monastic habit on November 5, 1849, and he was given the name “Paul”. He thus pronounced his vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, which made him a monk, but not a priest. Nine years of study, prayer, and self-sacrifice were required before he attained the sublime dignity of the Priesthood; and so it was not until he had completed six years of College study and two years post-graduate course of Theology at the celebrated Benedictine College in Parma, Italy, that he was ordained on November 21, 1858, and he offered with angelic piety the adorable Sacrifice for the first time. He had therefore attained his thirty-fourth year when he entered upon his priestly and apostolic career - a life of prayer, sacrifice and miracles, which he pursued without interruption for over forty years.
Receives Extraordinary Power –The gift of miracles.
The circumstances which attended the conferring of the extraordinary power of a wonderworker upon him, are thus described by Father Paul himself: -
"At the commencement of my Priestly career, I was so critically ill that my life was despaired of. Our Lord appeared to me, accompanied by the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, and St. Benedict. While Mary held my hand, our Savior placed His hand upon my head and said to me, 'Be cured. Henceforth thou shalt live for the consolation of a great number of persons; I grant thee all that thou shalt demand of Me for others.' Suddenly I was cured."
From this mission so divinely entrusted to Father Paul proceeded his familiar simplicity and his seeming unconsciousness of the miracles he wrought, considering himself rather a witness, than a chosen instrument in the hands of God. To the same cause may likewise be attributed the occasional use of haughty terms, especially when he answered unbelievers, and which sounded so incompatible with his profound humility. Thus he would say, "This will be accomplished because I tell you so," -that “I” signifying God through me. Just as the Cure of Ars ascribed his miracles to St. Philomena, so did Father Paul frequently screen himself behind St. Benedict.
Be this as it may, one thing is certain –Father Paul took the Lord at His word, and began without delay his wonderworking mission.
His Fame Heralded Through Flanders and Belgium
After his studies and ordination he returned to the abbey of Termonde, which became the central scene of his activity, and whence his fame was heralded throughout Flanders and Belgium, the people of those Catholic regions were deeply impressed with his sanctity which daily increased until his death. So successfully did Father Paul, in his humility, conceal the marvelous power which he possessed from his brother monks, and which he so unremittingly exercised, that although they could not fail to perceive his popularity from the crowds that had recourse to him, yet for the most part they were ignorant of most of the miracles that he performed, and the reasons for his attractive influence.
Some of the miracles that God wrought through him:
-A Sister from the Neighborhood of Termonde (Dendermonde) states- "One day I went to the church of the Benedict of Termonde to go to confession to Father Paul whom as yet I did not know; but upon arrival I saw that his confessional was vacant. Whilst I was walking away I heard a sound and returning saw Father Paul seated in his confessional. It was he who had called me, although had not seen anybody enter the church. Entering the confessional, I told him that I somewhat embarrassed, not knowing how to begin. ‘Oh, do not worry’ he replied, 'I myself shall make your confession’, and this he really did, to my great astonishment, even going into minute details and in such a manner that I did not need to add a single word.”
"How do you know that?" the stranger asked in confusion.
-A Young Man in the last stages of consumption, daily expected death. Two of his friends jokingly suggested that he to see Father Paul. "You treat the matter sneering: very well, I will go," replied the poor invalid. 'As desire to witness a miracle, we will accompany you' said the two friends.
At Antwerp they were received by Father Paul who said to the sick man, "Your condition is most serious, but God will have pity on you; you will be cured"
To him who had indulged the most in raillery, the Rev. Father said "Two months from now you will die; prepare yourself for a good death, for soon you will appear before God." To the third he said, "Change your manner of life and be converted, for the state of your conscience is deplorable."
These predictions were fulfilled; the sick man was cured and the second died, while the third is now leading an exemplary life. These three young men were inhabitants of Borgerhout.
-A Peasant from the Suburbs of Ghent when speaking of Father Paul, had the habit of calling him in mockery, 'the Father with the medals'. But when his daughter took sick, he deemed it well to cease his raillery, and more advisable to have recourse to the good religious in order to obtain the cure of his child. Father Paul told him that his irreligious conduct was the only cause of the great pains which his daughter suffered, and as he gave him a medal for her, he added, "Here you have a medal for your child from the 'Father with the medals'."
- Father Paul said to a young Lady who came to visit him, "A very heavy cross is in store for you .... Are you not afraid of it?" "Well," she replied, "it will probably not be so heavy when it comes." "Ah, but it will, and you will groan under the weight of it. But come afterwards, and I will help you to carry it."
A few weeks later her brother-in-law committed suicide, and all the relatives were overwhelmed with grief. Remembering Father Paul's invitation the young lady returned to the monastery, and the Rev. Father gave her some reassuring information concerning the state of the soul of the deceased, saying, "Your brother -in-law committed suicide in a fit of fever and was not responsible. He was very good to his wife and children and was beloved by them; but all his thoughts were centered on the material things of the world, he never thought of the future of his soul which is now in the depths of purgatory. You must pray a great deal for him." Then Father Paul went over the whole life of the deceased, as if he had followed his career step by step.
- An unnatural Mother, as she advanced in years, having become blind, begged Father Paul to restore her sight. The Rev. Father held a small mirror before the woman's eyes and asked her, "Do you see now?" Oh yes," she replied, "and oh, what a beautiful little angel."
"Is it not the child which you killed when you were young? You must bear your misfortune in expiation of your crime."
And she again became blind for Father Paul invariably refused to intercede in behalf of those whose affliction was the effect of sin.
-A Nun happened to be in the Benedictine church of the abbey, and saw a woman lamenting and entreating Father Paul to come to her assistance; but he abruptly turned away from her. The religious Sister was greatly affected so she followed Father Paul and ventured to ask why he acted so strangely. He replied, "It is indeed very sad, but in her youth she destroyed her child, she is now suffering the penalty of her crime, and I cannot help her."
-A poor girl in Antwerp who had become blind, desired to obtain her recovery through Father Paul; but having no funds for the journey to Termonde, she applied to a young lady of Antwerp who was well known for her works of charity. The lady was kind enough to accompany the girl to Termonde. Great, however, was her astonishment, when she heard Father Paul say to the blind girl, "Suffer your affliction in expiation of your crime; for you put your new-born infant to death."
-A sick woman came and asked Father Paul to cure her. She had brought a friend with her. The Rev. Father prescribed a novena and gave her the assurance of a cure. Then turning to the other woman, he asked her if she were not ill. "No," she said, "I come only to accompany my friend."
"Nevertheless, you are very sick," and she replied “Father, I am not sick, I feel fine”
"It is your soul that is sick," said Father Paul, "it is as is as black as soot."
“Why” the woman asked.
"Did you not drown your child?"
"Oh, no! I never did such a thing!"
"Certainly you did so, eleven years ago, at such place (indicating the exact spot) and you never confessed your crime." The unatural mother burst into tears and then made her confession to Father Paul.
-One day Father Paul was seen with a large wound on his forehead. He explained that it was the effect of a blow which the devil had given him.
-Father Paul once said to a friend, "I have just seen our Savior and immediately afterwards there filed past me a large troop of men on horseback, all clad in armour, like cavaliers of the Middle Ages: they were so many demons! When anything good happens, the devil at once interferes."
-There was a talk in the presence of Father Paul of sorcerers and sorceresses, of diabolical Sabbath meetings and interferences of evil spirits. Asked to express his opinion, Father Paul said, "Currently in our days the action of the evil spirit is less to be feared than formerly. His power diminishes with the ever increasing number of priests; for the almost continual offering of the holy sacrifice of the Mass victoriously neutralizes the efforts of Satan."
-A young lady writes, "One day at Steenbrugge, Father Paul exhorted me to pray daily in union with the anguish of Jesus crucified and the sorrows of Mary at the foot of the cross. The Rev. Father said that he did it also, and to these prayers he attributed the great number of sinners who came to confession to him; and for that reason the devil had vowed a special hatred against him.
"One night," he added, "the devil came to my cell and leaped on my neck with an indescribable rage, in order to strangle me."
"But, Father:" I exclaimed, "how did you get rid of him? "
"I invoked Jesus in His love, and said, 'Oh love! Oh infinite love! Oh ocean of love! How great was your goodness for men to allow Yourself to be tempted in the desert by Satan'
-Very early one morning, Father Paul seeing a peasant who had come a long distance through a snowstorm to hear Mass in the church at Steenbrugge, said to him : “If you could see the immense merits which your courage has procured for you, you would be astonished, and you might yet increase them in a incredible measure, by saying, 'All for the love of Jesus.'"
-To a servant girl in Antwerp Father Paul said,
“Before eating, sleeping, opening or closing a door or any other action, always have the intention of doing all for the love of Jesus. In this way you will continually reap a rich harvest for heaven."
-Father Paul related one of his visions to a person from Knesselaere in the following manner:-
"The Blessed Virgin appeared to me, holding the Divine Infant in her arms; he was crying bitterly and did not cease to complain. I asked Mary what was the cause of the sorrows of the little Jesus, and she replied, 'It is because priests do not remind the faithful sufficiently of the love of God for man, and of the passion of our Savior.'
"Thereupon I promised to treat of these two subjects in my next sermon, and immediately the sadness of the Infant Jesus was changed into great joy. He threw His little arms round the neck of His Mother, and embraced her tenderly."
-A lady acquaintance from Knesselaere paid a visit to Father Paul and found him very ill, his head, and left arm and leg were much swollen. Father Paul explained the cause of his condition in these terms: -
"I had great pains in my head and suffered so intensely from them that I complained to Jesus. He replied to me, 'How insignificant your sufferings are, compared with the martyrdom I suffered, when crowned with thorns !'
"Then I asked Him that I might experience the pain of only one of those thorns and, at the same instant, the torture became so great that I fainted."
-From a letter to the Mother Superior of a convent: "It is by love that one can overcome Almighty God; He is so sensitive to love that He can refuse us nothing."
Some extracts from Letters from Father Paul:
To a Lady in Knesselaere Father Paul wrote:
-"God is astonishing in His love. The more we love Him, the more He loves us. He pays us back in tenfold love, the love which we have for Him."
-"Man will be all the more glorious in heaven, the greater his love for God has been on earth."
-"The love of God is as beautiful for men who love Him, as it is terrible to the demons and the damned."
-"The more a man loves God, the more beautiful he grows in the eyes of God."
-"God being infinite love, we can always love Him more and more."
-"Oh love! Oh infinite love! Oh eternal love! Oh sweet love of God !"
-"Man finds his greatest consolation in faithfully keeping the commandments of God and the holy Church, and in having a great devotion to Mary."
-Father Paul once said to a person in Antwerp, "I never cease saying, 'O love! O great love! O infinite love of God!' If men knew how pleasing this is to God, they would repeat it without ceasing; several persons have become saints in this way."
-Father Paul once said to a lay sister, a penitent of his: "When you enter the church in the morning it will be like a burning furnace; fire everywhere, the fire of the love of God to welcome you. You will not see this fire, but the whole church will be full of it."
-"On rising in the morning, many persons offer to God all the actions of the day saying, 'All for the glory of God!' But they should say, 'All for the love and glory of God!' because love surpasses all."
-"The devil cannot go any farther than the length of his chain will allow." (In Flemish: De duvel kan toch maer loopen zoo verre alz z ijin keten lang is.)
"My sick uncle went to see Father Paul. - 'You have a natural sickness,' said the Rev. Father, and quickly pulling out his watch, added: 'Go to the depot at once; but hurry! You will catch the train yet. Step into the first coach, there you will hear tell of a physician who will cure you.'
"And really, my uncle was told in that coach of a physician ... He immediately went to him, and the physician said, 'You have heart disease, but in two weeks you will have no more attacks, you will be cured. And my uncle is now well.
"My mother was afflicted with a serious malady of the liver. Father Paul pressed a medal of St. Benedict against her side and said, 'Madam, say three times: St. Benedict, heal me!' She did so, and felt at once that she was cured."
The miraculous story of the messenger birds-
-Among the numerous friends upon whom Father Paul used to call during his frequent visits to Antwerp, was an invalid lady and her servant Theresa. In 1887 the Rev. Father told Theresa that henceforth she would be informed beforehand of his approaching visits, adding that God delights to manifest His goodness to simple people. At his next visit Father Paul asked her, "Well have the little birds announced my coming?"
As a matter of fact, on the eve of Father Paul's visits to the lady, beautiful little birds, varying in number from two to twelve at a time, began to make their appearance in the garden, singing a joyful air which was always the same. They would also perch on the window-sill of the drawing room which looked out upon the garden, and tap upon the window-panes. Although the tune of the mysterious songsters never varied, they had at each successive visit a different plumage. The lady and her nurse, the sister who attended her, also saw these charming little birds, but could not tell where they came from any more than Theresa could. Were they birds from the tropics? But in that case these delicate little creatures would hardly have ventured into our climate in all seasons, for they came in winter, when it was snowing and very cold, as well as in summer. The sister nurse tried repeatedly to catch one of the birds, but in vain. She spoke of it to Father Paul and he replied, "Oh! they won't let themselves be caught!"
. 'But what, then, are these beautiful little birds ?" they asked, to which the Rev. Father replied with a smile, "Dat is correspondencie," "They are messengers. "
Father Paul also told Theresa not to speak of these birds to anyone except to an intimate friend of hers. "If during my life," he said, "you spread the news abroad the birds will never come again."
On the eve of Father Paul's death the birds appeared again, but they were quite dejected, and, with drooping wings, sang a melancholy note which foretold some sorrow or misfortune to the inmates of the house. This presentiment, alas! proved but too true. Henceforth the "hemelsche vogeltjes" (the heavenly little birds), as Theresa called them, disappeared. But six months later she heard that Father Paul's photograph was for sale in Bruges; she procured a copy and hung it in the lady's drawing room. That very day the wonderful birds returned and sang their joyful melody, and they still continue to make their appearance from time to time.
The following is the description Theresa gives of the birds as they appeared on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 1897: "Today, at ten minutes to eleven, two little birds of incomparable beauty arrived; their plumage was blue, green and purple, their breasts and heads white, but the latter with stripes of deep purple in the form of a garland."
It seems that Theresa now understands what these birds come to announce; for with their assistance she often reveals events and foretells things which afterwards come to pass."
-A Woman of Antwerp declares as follows: "For years my son Anthony, nine years old, had his face, neck and shoulders covered with an eruption that gave him an appearance of a monster; and my baby, a few weeks old, was in a similar condition. The doctors could do nothing in the case. When Father Paul came to the house and looked at my little Anthony, he said to me in a pleasant tone, 'Anthony! ... to bear the name of so great a saint, and be in such a state! Such a thing must not be! Make a novena and wash both children with water containing the medal of St. Benedict, they will be cured.' 'But the physician forbade me to wash them in water,' I said.
'I tell you, wash them twelve times a day for nine days!'
"-My two children were perfectly cured during the novena."
The same woman says, "I have visited the grave of Father Paul three times, and on each occasion a beautiful little bird came long as I prayed there and sang over the tomb, and the bird did not fly away until the moment I left."
-One of Father Paul's acquaintances from Ghent, being desirous of possessing a relic of the venerable Benedictine, asked him repeatedly for a lock of his hair, but in vain. His constant answer was that his hair was too short. One day, however, at Termonde, she was bold enough to cut off a lock of his hair, at a moment when his attention was drawn elsewhere. As soon as the theft had been committed the lock disappeared in the depths of the visitor's pocket. Father Paul was indignant beyond measure and said, "If you ever again commit the slightest impropriety, I shall forbid you to come here again. You will not keep very long the lock of hair which you have just taken.
These words were spoken in such a severe tone that the person was very much confused; she knelt down and asked pardon but kept the lock of hair of which no further mention was made. As soon as she returned to Ghent, her first thought was to lock up carefully in a drawer the precious relic, having first tied a ribbon around the lock of hair and placed it in a piece of paper.
About four o'clock the next morning, being in bed, she heard an unusual noise in the house; she got up, went down stairs to investigate, and found the hall-door half open. She cast a glance out into the street but saw no one except the night watchman who was making his rounds as usual. Addressing him she asked, "Why did you not ring the bell when you saw my door open ?" He replied, "I thought you had left it open on purpose." "That is a poor excuse; I shall bring a complaint against you." "Please don't do that, or I shall be punished!" "Very well; but tell me how long my door has been open? And did you see anybody enter or leave the house?" "Your door has been open for two hours, and I have not seen anybody enter or leave your house."
The lady then went upstairs and looked around to see if anything had been stolen. She opened the drawer in which, the evening before, she had put the lock of hair, and was surprised to find that it had disappeared. The next time she saw Father Paul, he asked her, "Do you still have the lock of hair ?"
-A Lady from Antwerp who had much to complain about a nephew of hers -he had threatened to do her bodily harm- went to Father Paul for help. The Rev. Father reassured the lady, and foretold that she would soon be delivered out of his hands. Scarcely had three months elapsed, when the latter had a stroke of appoplexy which resulted in complete paralysis and mental derangement. Happening to meet Father Paul some time afterwards, she told him about it and the Rev. Father predicted that her nephew would recover the use of reason in order that he might be converted. Having endured terrible sufferings for a whole year, the unhappy fellow recovered and was converted; yet, health was restored to him but for a short time; soon after he succumbed to a second stroke of appoplexy.
On February 29, 1896, an Antwerp newspaper published the following:- "Last Monday, February 24, 1896, there died peacefully in the Lord, in the Abbey of Termonde, after a long, serious illness, the sympathetic and celebrated Father Paul. Dom Paul (in the world Francis Luyckx), a Benedictine monk, had a profound knowledge of the human heart, which he carefully concealed beneath an exterior of the greatest simplicity.”"Animated by an unbounded love for the people, he was the refuge of the poor, and especially of the afflicted. Although the lowly and humble were particularly dear to him, he was also the counselor and the confidant of persons of rank and high station in our own country, as well as in England, France, Austria, and Italy. All who came in contact with Father Paul were captivated by his mysterious influence upon them, the effects of which never left them. "
On July 24, 1899, three years after Father Paul's death, per requests of the faithful, Father Paul's body was exhumed and was found in a perfect state of incorruption, to the great joy of his many friends present at the exhumation. This remarkable fact is verified in the photograph taken at the time and also the sworn document signed by 33 witnesses of the exhumation. On witnessing the extraordinary spectacle, all at once fell upon their knees and joined together in prayer and thankfullness to God, in the presence of the beloved remains.
-Life is a struggle, and the best remedy for it is to do everything for the love of God, and to endure everything for the love of Jesus.
-Look at God from all sides and you should shout out everywhere: 'oh Love, oh Infinite Love!'.
-The love of God is found in the humble heart of man.
-Do not be sad when everyone is against you, as long as the Lord is with you.
-Think of the love of God, concentrate on the love of God, then you cannot complain.
When the Lord is with you, do not be afraid, even if the whole world is against you. The way of love is the way of suffering.
-Yes, all suffering is no longer suffering when you suffer for the love of God.
-Why do not all men shout out: 'oh Love, oh Infinite Love of God'?
Because they are totally absorbed by the beauties, or riches, or pleasures of the world.
-When we talk of other things, there is an end to them or they fall short of our expectations; but the love of God: the more we talk about it, the more we want to talk about it.
-Everything that is not love of God is disgusting and brings about repulsion.
-Jesus of infinite love, I feel pity for You, for every blow, every wound, every drop of blood.
-The agreeableness and sweetness of the love of God makes us forget everything.
-Ask Jesus everything in the name of his infinite love, but especially remembering his crown of thorns.
-Friendship with everyone, and union only with God.
-Do not be deceived by the glamour of the world, for it cannot give you the love of Jesus.
I am surprised to learn that you put so much trust in the righteousness and gratitude of men. Who will be grateful to you for your benefits ... ? You will have to look for them using a lantern in broad daylight.
-Just live as a child of love, and you will understand better the love of God, and you will benefit from it.
-Oh love, oh infinite love of Jesus, I ask You for a heart to love You more and more; to love only You!
Father Paul of Moll, pray for us!
Another small booklet on Father Paul in English entitled "For The Love of Jesus" by Father Justin Desmyter O.S.B. is availible through the Monestary Abbey of SS. Peter and Paul, Dendermonde, Belgium.