+ Niccolo Boccasini was born in Treviso, Italy. Having joined the Dominican Order as a young man, he served in various posts before being elected Master of the Order in 1296.
+ In 1298, Niccolo was named to the college of cardinals and, two years later, named bishop of Ostia. During this period he also served as papal legate to Hungary and France.
+ On October 22, 1303, following the death of Pope Boniface VIII, Niccolo was elected pope, taking the Benedict XI. He immediately set about to reverse some of the controversial policies of his predecessor and he was able to introduce a number of reforms of clerical and religious life.
+ Even as pope, Benedict authored a volume of sermons and commentaries on the Gospel of Matthew, the Psalms, the Book of Job, and the Book of Revelation.
+ Blessed Pope Benedict XI died on July 7, 1304. Pope Clement XII approved devotion to this holy pope in 1736.
For prayer and reflection
“The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter’s successor, ‘is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful.’ ‘For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.’—Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 882 (quoting Lumen Gentium)
Almighty ever-living God, who chose blessed Benedict XI to preside over your whole people and benefit them by word and example, keep safe, we pray, by his intercession, the shepherds of your Church along with the flocks entrusted to their care, and direct them in the way of eternal salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Pastors—For a Pope)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.