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Saint of the Day: Pope St. Pius V

Implemented the Reforms of the Council of Trent


Public Domain

Dominican Friar and Pope (1504-1572)

His life

+ Antonio Ghislieri was born in northern Italy in 1504. At the age of fourteen he entered the Dominican Order, and he was ordained to the priesthood in 1528.

+ For the next sixteen years he served as a professor, provincial, and commissary general of the Roman Inquisition.

+ In 1556 he was ordained a bishop, and in 1558 he was named a cardinal and appointed Inquisitor General for the Catholic world. Despite his unwillingness, he was elected pope in 1566, thanks in large part to the influence of Saint Charles Borromeo.

+ As Pope Pius V he set to work reforming the Church. Known for his charity to the poor, he also insisted on justice and obedience. His liturgical and moral reforms were far-reaching and their success was largely due to the respect that many leaders had for his personal holiness.

+ Concerned with the spread of Protestantism, he was constantly in conflict with Maximilian II of Germany and in 1570 he excommunicated Queen Elizabeth of England.

+ A controversial historical figure, he left an enduring mark on the Church’s life and worship. He published a new Breviary and Missal, revised the Church’s calendar and ordered a revision of the Roman Martyrology (the Church’s official list of saints). Finally, he issued the Catechism of the Council of Trent, insisting that the catechesis of catechumens and the young be made a priority for all parish priests.

+ Pope Saint Pius V died 1572 and was canonized in 1712.

For prayer and reflection

The Lord chose him for himself as high priest, and, opening his treasure house, made him rich in all good things.”—Entrance Antiphon for Mass of the Common of Pastors (For a Pope)


O God, who in your providence
raised up Pope Saint Pius the Fifth in your Church
that the faith might be safeguarded
and more fitting worship be offered to you,
grant, through his intercession,
that we may participate in your mysteries
with lively faith and fruitful charity.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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