Michael Ghislieri was born in Italy in 1504. His whole life was always guided by the most perfect maxims of Christian piety. At the age of fifteen he received the Dominican habit, and at once became a model of religious perfection. In 1528, he was ordained priest, and then taught philosophy and theology for sixteen years. He also filled other important positions in his Order.
Pope Paul IV in 1556 promoted Michael to the united Bishoprics of Nepi and Sutri in the Papal States, and in 1557 the same Pope created him Cardinal, but his humility and other virtues only became more conspicuous in this exalted position. Pius IV, who succeeded Paul IV in 1559, moved Michael to the diocese of Mondori in Piedmont. At the conclave that was held on the death of Pius IV, St. Charles Borromeo united the suffrages in favor of Cardinal Alexandrinus, as Ghislieri was called, and he became Pope under the title of Pius V in 1566.
Michael’s life ad Sovereign Pontiff was as exemplary as it had been while he was a simple Dominican Friar. With great piety and apostolic fervor, and in accord with the Decrees of the Council of Trent, he fostered Divine worship, Christian doctrine, and ecclesiastical discipline and also promoted the propagation of the Faith.
It was also during his pontificate that the celebrated victory of Lepanto was gained against the Turks under Don John of Austria. As a result of this victory he ordered the feast of the Holy Rosary to be observed on the first Sunday of October. He died in the year after this victory, on May 1, 1572, and was canonized in 1712 by Pope Clement XI.
PRAYER: God, You providently raised up St. Pius in Your Church for the defense of the Faith and for more suitable Divine worship. Through his intercession, help us to participate in Your mysteries with a livelier Faith and a more fruitful love. Amen.