Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ. -- Saint Augustine of Hippo from “The City of God

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Saint Charles Borromeo

Saint Charles Borromeo (also known as Carlo Borromeo; Father of the Clergy; Apostle to the Council of Trent) was born in 1538 A.D. in at Aron, diocese of Novara, Italy. Born to a wealthy, noble family, the third of six children, Charles was the son of Count Giberto II Borromeo and Margherita de' Medici. He was a nephew of Pope Pius IV. He studied in Milan, and at the University of Pavia, studying at one point under the future Pope Gregory XIII. Charles was a civil and canon lawyer at age 21. He became a cleric at Milan, taking the habit in October 1547. Charles became abbot commendatario of San Felino e San Graziano abbey in Arona, in November 1547. Then he became abbot commendatario of San Silano di Romagnano abbey in May 1558. He was made prior commendatario of San Maria di Calvenzano abbey in December 1558.

He was summoned to Rome upon the election of Pius IV, the administration of all the Papal States was entrusted to him, and he was made cardinal-deacon and administrator of the archdiocese of Milan though only 22 years old. He was legate of Bologna, Romagna, and the March of Ancona, and Protector of the Kingdom of Portugal, Lower Germany, and the Catholic cantons of Switzerland. Under his protection were placed the orders of Saint Francis, the Carmelites, the Humiliati, and the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross of Christ in Portugal. Due to his enforcement of strict ecclesiastical discipline, some disgruntled monks in the Order of the Humiliati hired a lay brother to murder him on the evening of 26 October 1569. He was shot at, but he was not hit. He founded at Rome the Vatican Academy for literary work, and many of the contributions to the Academy are found in Saint Charles's "Noctes Vaticanre."

As papal secretary of state, he labored for the reassembling of the Council of Trent, which took place, 1562, and Charles was active in enforcing its reforms, and in composing the Roman Catechism, embodying the teachings of the Council. Charles participated in the conclave in 1572 that chose Pope Gregory XIII.

Saint Charles spent his life and fortune in the service of the people of his diocese at Milan. He directed and enforced the decrees of the Council of Trent, and he fought tirelessly for peace in the wake of the storm caused by Martin Luther. Charles founded schools for the poor, seminaries, hospitals, conducted synods, instituted children's Sunday school, and worked among the sick and dying, leading his people by example.

Saint Charles Borromeo died of a fever on November 3, 1584 at Milan, Italy. His relics are in the Cathedral of Milan.

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