SAINT PETER CELESTINE Pope & Confessor – May 19

St. Peter was born in Apulia, Italy, in 1227. After a youth
spent in piety and the acquisition of knowledge, he renounced
the world at the age of twenty and retired to a solitary
mountain where he took up his abode in a small cell, in which
he lived three years. He was ordained priest at Rome, but in
1246 he returned to solitude and lived five years in a cave
near Sulmona. With two companions he moved to Mount
Majella in 1251, and after some time he admitted other
disciples. He imposed the rule of St. Benedict upon them.
With these the saint lived in the practice of the greatest
austerity, and the community gathered around him finally
ripened into the religious Order of the Celestinians, for which
he built a monastery and for which he obtained the
approbation of Pope Gregory X in 1274, under the Rule of St.
Benedict. He lived to see thirty-six monasteries and six
hundred Religious in his Order, which gradually spread over
In 1294 he was forced to accept the pontifical dignity, to
which he was elected on account of his great sanctity. He
succeeded Nicholas IV, after the See of Rome had been
vacant two years and three months, taking the title of
Celestine V. His ignorance of canon law and his inexperience
in worldly matters rendered his new office extremely irksome.
He was evidently more suited to the cloister than to the tiara.
He took the advice of learned men and solemnly abdicated,
after occupying the pontifical chair four months. The
treatment he received from the new Pope, Boniface VIII, was
not what he might have expected. The imprudence of certain
persons caused Boniface to fear lest a disturbance might be
created, so he had St. Celestine put in prison, where he died
ten months later. Lives of the Saints, pages194-195.