Monday, 30 April 2018

Pope St Pius V

Pope St Pius V (1504-1572)
We honor today a great reformer, and one of only 2 Popes to be canonized over an 800 year period. Before John XXIII and John Paul II were canonized in 2014, only two Popes had been canonized from the 13th century up till now, Pope Pius X and Pope Pius V. Born in 1504 as Michele Ghislieri, he worked as a shepherd until some Dominican priests called him to join them. He was ordained a priest at the age of 24 and taught philosophy and theology until he was made a Bishop and soon afterwards a Cardinal.
He was a great friend of St Charles Borromeo and helped in fighting against heresy and corruption in his time. He was elected Pope in 1566 and chose the name of Pius V. He served the poor and the sick himself and fasted and prayed in front of the Blessed Sacrament regularly. He helped devise the new catechism that came out after the Council of Trent. He also opposed the Protestants who were starting new religions at that time, Lutheranism, Anglicanism and Calvinism. But he was very strong against the Ottoman Empire and the Turks who were infiltrating all of Europe. He encouraged the people to pray the Rosary to combat the Turks, especially in the battle of Lepanto, as well as the Great Siege of Malta.
Pope Pius V was very kind in giving a generous donation to the people of Malta to start building the new city, the capital city called Valletta. He also instituted the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7. He died on May 1, 1572 and was canonized in 1712. An interesting fact about Pope St Pius V is that he is the one who introduced the white cassock for a Pope. Since he was a Dominican, he frequently used the white habit, especially in the hot summer days in Rome. Then all the Popes that followed kept the tradition in wearing white, feeling a little cooler in white, rather than wearing black.

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