St. Charles, of the noble family Borromeo, was born on October 2, 1538 in the castle of Arona at Lake Majiore in Italy. He received the clerical tonsure at 12, as soon as his age would allow. He studied at Milan and later at the University of Pavia, where he received his doctorate in civil and canon law in 1559.
In the same year, his uncle, the Cardinal de Medici, was elected Pope under the title of Pius IV. In 1560, Pope Pius IV appointed St. Charles, then 22, cardinal and archbishop of Milan.
Later, as papal secretary of state, St. Charles was instrumental in reassembling the Council of Trent in 1562. He led the reformation of the Church and was active in composing the Roman Catechism, containing the teaching of the Council.
Among his many contributions to the Church, he encouraged the proper training of priests by founding several seminaries and colleges. He also supported religious instruction of children.
His relief measures in Milan saved many lives during the plague of 1576-78. A painting of St. Charles Borromeo on the east wall of our chapel shows him administering to the sick during the plague.
St. Charles died on November 3 in Milan at the age of 47. He was canonized in 1610. His feast day is November 4.
St. Charles Borromeo Prayer
You have generously made known to human beings the mysteries of Your life through Jesus Christ Your Son in the Holy Spirit. Enlighten my mind to know these mysteries which Your Church treasures and teaches.
Move my heart to love them and my will to live in accordance with them. Give me the ability to teach this Faith to others without pride, without ostentation, and without personal gain. Let me realize that I am simply Your instrument for bringing others to the knowledge of the wonderful things You have done for all Your creatures. Help me to be faithful to this task that You have entrusted to me.