Patron of Seminarians
St. Charles, of the noble family of Borromeo, was born in 1538 on the banks of Lake Maggiore, Italy. He studied at Milan and afterward at the University of Pavia, where he received his Doctorate in Civil and Canon Law in 1559. His uncle, the Cardinal de Medici, having in the same year been elected Pope under the title of Pius IV, sent for him and created him Cardinal, and a short time afterward nominated him Archbishop of Milan, though he was only twenty-two years of age.
At the same time Charles was detained at Rome by the Pope and he began to labor diligently in the interests of the Church. There he founded the Vatican Academy for literary work. As Papal Secretary of State, he was instrumental in reassembling the Council of Trent in 1562. He was active in enforcing its reforms and in composing the Roman Catechism, containing the teaching of the Council.
After receiving priestly ordination, the Saint also accepted the office of grand penitentiary. For merely honorary or lucrative positions he had no ambition. He assisted at the deathbed of the Pope in 1564, and on the election of Pius V he went to reside at Milan.
In 1572, Charles concurred in the election of Gregory XIII. In the great plague at Milan, in 1575, he showed himself the true shepherd by his self-sacrificing charity and heroism. This great light in the firmament of the Church was extinguished in 1584. He was canonized in 1610 by Pope Paul V.
PRAYER: God, maintain in Your people that spirit with which You inspired Your Bishop, St. Charles, so that Your Church may be constantly renewed, conforming herself to Christ and manifesting Christ to the world. Amen.