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Blessed Urban V

One of the last popes to be honored among the saints


Public Domain

Pope (1310-1370)

His life

+ William de Grimoard was born in France in 1310 and became a Benedictine monk in a small monastery in Chirac.

+ Trained in canon law, he would later serve as vicar general of various dioceses and was named abbot of the great abbey of Saint Germaine in Auxerre.

+ After serving as the papal representative in Milan and Naples, he was elected pope in 1362, taking the name Urban V. At the time the popes were residing in Avignon, France, and Urban’s reign is marked by his efforts at church reform and unity, including his attempt to restore the papacy to Rome in 1367.

+ Pope Urban supported higher learning throughout Europe, founding the Universities of Krakow and Vienna and endowing the Universities of Avignon, Toulouse, Orange, Oxford, and Orléans.

+ Despite his good intentions, political conflicts forced Urban to return to Avignon, where he died on December 19, 1370. Honored by his contemporaries a “light of the world” and “a lover of righteousness,” he was beatified in 1870.

For prayer and reflection

O Flower of Jesse’s stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.—Magnificat Antiphon for December 19


O God, who through the child-bearing of the holy Virgin
graciously revealed the radiance of your glory to the world,
grant, we pray,
that we may venerate with integrity of faith
the mystery of so wondrous an Incarnation
and always celebrate it with due reverence.
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.

(the Collect for December 19)

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

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