+ Charles was born near Lake Maggioe, Italy, and was educated at the University of Paris. He later earned a doctorate in both civil and canon law.
+ His uncle, Pope Pius IV, named the twenty-two year old Charles a cardinal and appointed him as administrator of the archdiocese of Milan in 1560.
+ Charles dedicated his life to the reform of the Church and became a key figure in the Catholic Counter-Reformation. As Vatican Secretary of State, he was instrumental in reassembling the Council of Trent and he was active in enforcing the Council’s decrees and in composing the new Roman Catechism.
+ In 1563, Charles was ordained to the priesthood and named archbishop of Milan.
+ Saint Charles Borromeo died on November 3, 1584. He is remembered for his staunch defense of the Catholic Faith and his tireless work to bring unity and healing to the Church in the early years of the Protestant Reformation. He was canonized in 1610 and is honored as the patron saint of seminaries.
Because of his extensive work as a reformer, Saint Charles traveled extensively throughout Italy and beyond. It was during a visit to town of Castiglione that he was received as a guest of the powerful Gonzaga family. During that visit, he gave First Communion to the Gonzaga’s eldest son, Luigi. This young man—who is more commonly known as Aloysius—would later go on to enter the Society of Jesus and he died in Rome in 1591 at the age of twenty-three. He was canonized in 1726 and is celebrated as the patron saint of youth and of those with HIV/AIDS and their caregivers.
“I admit that we are all weak, but if we want help, the Lord God has given us the means to find it easily.”—Saint Charles Borromeo
Preserve in the midst of your people,
we ask, O Lord, the spirit with which you filled
the Bishop Saint Charles Borromeo,
that your Church may be constantly renewed
and, by conforming herself to the likeness of Christ,
may show his face to the world.
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.