Charles Borromeo, Saint

Charles Borromeo, Saint bōrōmāˈō [key], 1538–84, Italian churchman, b. near Lago Maggiore. His uncle, Pius IV, summoned Charles, a student at Pavia, to Rome in 1560. In rapid order he was made cardinal-deacon, administrator of the Papal States and of the archdiocese of Milan, and papal secretary of state. Despite a large personal fortune, St. Charles lived a simple, ascetic life. He was most zealous in encouraging reform in the church and was largely responsible for reopening (1560) the Council of Trent, of which he was the guiding spirit. In 1563 he was ordained priest, consecrated bishop, and then received the pallium for the see of Milan. He was 28 years old when, at Milan, he began introducing vigorous reforms, especially in the education of the clergy, enforcing the council's decrees for the institution of diocesan seminaries. He was exceedingly strict with the clergy, and he met much opposition. In 1569 some disaffected men tried to assassinate him. He worked untiringly to alleviate suffering in the pestilence of 1576. He was an exemplary pastor. There is a huge statue of him near Lago Maggiore and a monument to him in the cathedral at Milan, which he had completely redecorated. Feast: Nov. 4.

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