Charles Borromeo

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Feast Day: November 4
Canonized: November 1, 1610


Many years ago, Charles Borromeo helped the Church begin to live the Gospels again. He did this by living simply. Charles was born in a castle in Italy on October 2, 1538. His rich parents gave Charles a fine education. With it and with their money, he could have been or done anything! But he said good-bye to his family’s money. He knew at the age of 12 he wanted to become a priest.

His uncle was Pope Pius IV, and he named the young man a cardinal and Archbishop of Milan in 1560.

At that time, the Church had troubles. Many priests had forgotten that Jesus came to serve others. They refused to help the poor and hungry, the lonely and homeless. So Charles taught them how. He sent priests back to school by establishing seminaries. He was very concerned with religious education for children; he wrote a catechism for young people and built schools for them, too.

Then, when sickness came to Milan in the form of the bubonic plague, Charles rushed from house to house. He fed the hungry; he bathed the sores of the sick; he buried the dead. He put the good news of God’s love into action.

Some people tried to kill Charles because he did good things. Did that stop him? No! He just turned around and tried to help those people find God!

Finally, in 1584, Charles himself got sick and died. He was only 46 years old. He had spent his life showing people what God’s love looks like. So in 1610, the Church said, “Yes! Charles Borromeo is a saint! He lived the Gospels!” He was canonized just 26 years after his death.

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