Saint Brigid Religious Education
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St. Pope Pius V
Feast day: May 5
Michael Ghislieri, a Dominican friar from his fifteenth year, a teacher
of religion at twenty, as a simple religious, as inquisitor, bishop, and
cardinal, was famous both for the spotless purity of his own life and
for his intrepid defense of the Churchís faith and discipline.
Surrounded in his time by great men and great Saints, in apostolic
virtue he was surpassed by none.
As Pope, his first concern was to reform the Roman court and the capital
city by the strict example of his own household and the punishment of
offenders. He next endeavored to obtain from the Catholic powers
recognition of the decrees of the Council of Trent, two of which he
strictly enforced: the obligatory residence of bishops in their sees,
and the establishment of diocesan seminaries. He revised the Missal and
Breviary, and reformed ecclesiastical music.
He was not less active in protecting the Church outside Italy. We see
him at the same time supporting the Catholic King of France against the
Huguenot rebels, and encouraging Mary, Queen of Scots in the bitterness
of her captivity. It is he who excommunicated her rival, the usurper
Elizabeth, when the best blood of England flowed upon the scaffold and
the measure of her crimes was full. The intrepidity of this Vicar of
Christ found enemies. The holy Pope was accustomed to kiss the feet of
the crucifix on leaving or entering his room. One day the feet moved
away from his lips. Sorrow filled his heart, and he made acts of
contrition, fearing that he must have committed some secret offense, yet
he still could not kiss the feet. It was afterwards discovered that they
had been poisoned by an enemy.
It was in the Lepanto victory that the Saintís power was most plainly
manifest. There, in October of 1571, by the holy league which he had
formed but still more by the prayers of the aging Pontiff to the great
Mother of God, the defeat of the advancing Ottoman forces was obtained
and Christendom was saved from the Turk. Six months later Saint Pius V
died, having reigned only six years.