Saint Charles Borromeo, Bishop & Confessor

St. Charles, of the noble family of Borromeo, was born on Oct. 2,
1538, in the castle of Arona on the Banks of Lake Magiore, Italy. His
parents perceiving in him from an early age a love for the
ecclesiastical state, had him receive the tonsure as soon as his age
would permit. He studied at Milan and afterward at the University of
Pavia, where he received his doctorate in civil and canon law in 1559.
His uncle, the Cardinal de Medici, having in the same year been
elected Pope under the title of Pius IV, sent for him and created him
Cardinal, and a short time afterwards nominated him Archbishop of
Milan, though he was only twenty-two years of age.
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 Franciscans, the Carmelites, the Humiliati, and the Canons
Regular of the Holy Cross of Christ in Portugal. The appointment
may seem strange, but never was there a better one made in the
history of the Church. At the same time the Pope detained him at
Rome, where he began to labor diligently in the interests of the
Church. There he founded the Vatican Academy for literary work. As
Papal Secretary of State he was instrumental in reassembling the
Council of Trent in 1562. He was active in enforcing its reforms and
in composing the Roman Catechism, containing the teachings of the
council. After receiving priestly ordination, he also accepted the
office of grand penitentiary. For merely honorary or lucrative
positions he had no ambition. He assisted at the deathbed of the Pope
in 1564, and on the election of Pius V he went to reside at Milan,
where he deemed that his presence was required. He immediately
began to work at the reformation of his diocese; abuses quickly
disappeared, religion began to flourish in spite of the machinations of
his enemies, and St. Charles stands forth in bold relief as one of the
greatest reformers of ecclesiastical discipline that the Church has ever
produced. In 1572 he concurred in the election of Gregory XIII. In the
great plague at Milan in 1575, he showed himself the true shepherd by
his self-sacrificing charity and heroism. This great light in the
firmament of the Church was extinguished in 1584. Lives of the Saints,