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Follow the example of St. Charles Borromeo

This saint’s example is especially fitting for today as he is the patron saint of bishops, seminarians and catechists. It is his life of service, his love for the priesthood, and his charity to the poor that inspire me. I especially admire his dedication to the church and his vocation, even in the face of adversity.


Charles Borromeo was born Oct. 2, 1538, to a wealthy Italian family near Milan, Italy. Borromeo proved to be hard-working and studious from a young age, committing himself in service to the church at the age of 12, and earned a doctorate in canon and civil law from the University of Pavia in 1559. After Pope Pius IV named him a cardinal as well as administrator of Milan in 1560, Borromeo took this as a sign of his call to the priesthood, and entered formation. His family pressured him to marry when his brother died in 1562, but he remained faithful to his call. He was ordained a priest in 1563, and was consecrated a bishop a few months later. He served as archbishop of Milan for many years.


Borromeo took his responsibilities seriously and worked diligently to care for the church. Among his many undertakings were reconvening the Council of Trent, the reform of clergy and religious orders under his jurisdiction and the establishment of many seminaries and colleges. He also displayed great concern for the poor, personally feeding tens of thousands of poor and suffering citizens during a plague and famine in Milan in 1576. Borromeo also spent time in Switzerland fighting heresies and educating Swiss Catholics there. His many labors took a heavy toll on him, and he fell sick eventually and died Nov. 3, 1584. He was canonized by Pope Paul V in 1610.


St. Charles Borromeo, pray for us.


Kelly, who is from All Saints Church in Manassas, is in his first year of pre-theology studies at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018