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St. Pius V was a holy and generous pope who served the poor


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Philip Kosloski - published on 04/29/24

Among the many popes who were saints, St. Pius V stands out for his remarkable life and dedication to the poor.

There have been numerous popes who were later canonized, and sometimes we don’t take the time to get to know them and their inspiring lives.

St. Pius V is one of those popes who “practiced what he preached,” not only as a pope, but even before he was called to be the Bishop of Rome.

As a member of the Dominican Order, the Catholic Encyclopediastates, he “he strove to develop the practice of the monastic virtues and spread the spirit of the holy founder. He himself was an example to all. He fasted, did penance, passed long hours of the night in meditation and prayer, traveled on foot without a cloak in deep silence, or only speaking to his companions of the things of God.”

When he was eventually elected pope, he protested and did not want to receive such a responsibility.

He relented and then proceeded to transfer his same holiness into his new responsibilities.

Servant of the poor

For example, “He began his pontificate by giving large alms to the poor, instead of distributing his bounty at haphazard like his predecessors. As pontiff he practiced the virtues he had displayed as a monk and a bishop. His piety was not diminished, and, in spite of the heavy labours and anxieties of his office, he made at least two meditations a day on bended knees in presence of the Blessed Sacrament. In his charity he visited the hospitals, and sat by the bedside of the sick, consoling them and preparing them to die. He washed the feet of the poor, and embraced the lepers.

People were converted by the example of his holiness, as “an English nobleman was converted on seeing him kiss the feet of a beggar covered with ulcers.

St. Pius V was a great reformer and had help from his friend St. Charles Borromeo in reforming the clergy of the Catholic Church.

It was also St. Pius V who established the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary in honor of the victory at Lepanto.

He sought to implement the reforms of the Council of Trent and did all he could to lead by example.

St. Pius V died on May 1, 1572, with the words, “O Lord, increase my sufferings and my patience!”

Much happened during his pontificate, but what stands out is his remarkable example of holiness and his desire to live as a true servant of the servants of God.

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