Wednesday, August 17, 2022

St Charles Borromeo – Feast Day – November 4

St Charles Borromeo was a Cardinal and the Archbishop of Milan from 1564 to 1584. He was one of the major Counter-Reformists against the Protestant Reformation. He was born on October 2 1538 in Arona, Milan, Italy and died on November 3 1584 in Milan. We celebrate his feast day on November 4 every year in the Catholic Church.

St Charles Borromeo is the Patron Saint of

  • Stomach diseases
  • Starch makers
  • Spiritual leaders
  • Spiritual directors
  • Seminarians
  • Sao Carlos city in Brazil
  • Monterey California
  • Lombardy, Italy
  • Intestinal disorders
  • Colic
  • Catechumens
  • Catechists
  • Cardinals
  • Bishops
  • Apple orchards
  • Against ulcers
St Charles Borromeo, Bishop Biography
St Charles Borromeo - Feast Day - November 4
St Charles Borromeo – Feast Day – November 4
Date of Birth October 2 1538
Place of Birth Arona, Milan, Italy
Profession Cardinal and Roman Catholic archbishop of Milan from 1564 to 1584
Place of Work Milan, Italy
Date of Death November 3 1584 (Aged 46)
Place of Death Milan, Italy
Feast Day November 4
Beatification By Pope Clement VIII on May 12 1602
Canonization By Pope Paul V on November 1 1610
Patron Saint of
  • Stomach diseases
  • Starch makers
  • Spiritual leaders
  • Spiritual directors
  • Seminarians
  • Sao Carlos city in Brazil
  • Monterey California
  • Lombardy, Italy
  • Intestinal disorders
  • Colic
  • Catechumens
  • Catechists
  • Cardinals
  • Bishops
  • Apple orchards
  • Against ulcers

St Charles Borromeo Life History

St Charles Borromeo hailed from a noble and very wealthy family and lived in the castle of Arona on Lake Maggiore in Lombardy. His father, Gilbert, was Count of Arona while his mother, Margaret, was a member of the Milan branch of the House of Medici.

When he was 12 years old, Borromeo tonsured his head. After this, his uncle Giulio channeled to him the income that the family was privileged to get from the Sts. Gratinian and Felin Benedictine abbey.

St Charles Borromeo, however, made it clear to his father that he would use very little for his personal upkeep and channel the rest to help the poor as opposed to merry-making.

Borromeo studied civil and canon law at the University of Pavia. He had a slight speech impairment which slowed down his learning progress but he was very thorough and industrious, a trait that enabled him to be at par with his peers. 

His father died in 1554. On December 6 1559, he graduated with a doctorate in canon and civil law.

St Charles Borromeo’s uncle Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Medici was elected as Pope Pius IV on December 25 1559. Pope Pius IV called his nephew Borromeo to Rome on January 13 1560 and appointed him as a member of the highest non-episcopal college of prelates in the Roman Curia. (protonotary apostolic).

After a fortnight, the pope made him a cardinal and was made in charge of the public and the privy seal of the ecclesiastical state. He was also brought into the Papal States government and became the supervisor of the Knights of Malta, Franciscans, and the Carmelites.

During his four-year stint in Rome, St Charles Borromeo lived a very austere life and established the Academy of the Vatican Knights. This academy consisted of learned people and published their memoirs as the Noctes Vaticanae.

He also founded the college in Pavia and dedicated it to St Justina of Padua. Today, it is known as Almo Collegio Borromeo.

Borromeo contributed a lot to the making of the Tridentine Catechism during the Council of Trent in 1562-1563.

When his elder brother Federico died, his family members exerted pressure on him to marry and sire children so that the family lineage could continue, but he declined.

When, on February 7 1560, St Charles Borromeo was appointed an administrator of the Archdiocese of Milan, he was ordained as a priest on September 4 1563, and on December 7 1563, he was consecrated as a bishop by Cardinal Giovanni Serbelloni. He was formally appointed archbishop of Milan on May 12 1564 but physically bewent to Mila on September 23 1565.

St Charles Borromeo’s uncle, Pope Pius IV died in 1566 and Antonio Ghislieri was elected as Pope Pius V.

Borromeo started reforming the archdiocese of Milan which had deteriorated from the lack of regular archbishops physically present there. Even if the archdiocese was huge with over 3000 clergy and close to 1,000,000 laity, the whole congregation was in a total mess with widespread Simony and selling of indulgences.

St Charles Borromeo worked hard to restore the monasteries, convents, Churches and other religious institutions to “full order”. He urged the reformation of the Church in conformity with the decrees of the Council of Trent.

He established seminaries, colleges and institutions for the education of the clergy. This was to tame the moral decay in the Church as a result of ignorance. 

Borromeo founded the St Ambrose fraternity of Oblates for the non-clergy men to follow a discipline of monastic prayers and study and to devote themselves to the church.

His Church reforms, however, did not auger well with everyone. There was the religious order of Brothers of Humility who made an attempt on Borromeo’s life but he miraculously survived.

When famine and plague rocked Milan in 1576, the nobility including the governor fled the city. St Charles Borromeo persuaded the religious communities to stay put and help him tame the suffering of the poor and the remnants.

He used all his funds and even fell into debt while he fed close to 70,000 people daily. When the worst was over he encouraged the governor and the nobility to return.

St Charles Borromeo offered so much help to the English Catholics who had fled to Italy after facing persecution in England under Queen Elizabeth I.

St Charles Borromeo fought against heresy and falsehoods that were peddled against the Catholic Church by the Protestant Reformation proponents.

His Counter-Reformation combat against the Protestant Reformation resulted in bad blood between the people along religious lines. His uncompromising stance made the secular administrators, priests, and even the Pope be at loggerheads with him.

Death

St Charles Borromeo died of severe fever and ague on November 3 1584 in Milan Italy at the age of 46. His relics are preserved in the crypt of the Cathedral of Milan.

Beatification

St Charles Borromeo was beatified by Pope Clement VIII on May 12 1602.

Canonization

St Charles Borromeo was canonized by Pope Paul V on November 1 1610.

St Charles Borromeo Feast Day

We celebrate his feast day on November 4 every year in the Catholic Church.

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