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Saint of the Month

Pope Saint Pius V: Pope of the Rosary


Pope Pius reformed the church, protected it from the heresies pervasive throughout Europe, and armed with the Rosary, he saved the Church.

Saint Pius V was born Antonio Ghislieri in Bosco, Italy, in 1504 to a poor family. He helped his family by laboring as a shepherd until the age of fourteen, when he entered the Dominican Order, took the name Michele, and was ordained in 1528. Antonio taught theology and philosophy for sixteen years before being appointed master of the novices for several Dominican houses.

His piety and faithfulness resulted in his being appointed Inquisitor in Bergamo, and he eventually was appointed Inquisitor General by Pope Paul IV. In 1556, Father Michele was made Bishop of Mondovi and, in 1557, a cardinal. He was unanimously elected Pope on January 7, 1566. He was crowned ten days later, on his sixty-second birthday.

Pope Pius’ vision for his papacy was to massively reform the church and protect it from the heresies pervasive throughout Europe. He fully implemented all the decrees of the Council of Trent, published the Roman Catechism, the revised Roman Breviary, and declared Thomas Aquinas the fifth Doctor of the Church. Pope Pius also revised and promulgated the 1570 edition of the Roman Missal, making it mandatory throughout the Latin church. This form of the Mass remained unchanged until the late 1960s and is better known as the Tridentine Mass. It is still widely used.

Pope Pius formed the Holy League to combat the threat of the Ottoman Empire. He organized an alliance between Venice and Spain, and on October 7, 1571, Don John of Austria led a combined fleet to meet the Ottoman Empire fleet in the Gulf of Patras.

While the Battle of Lepanto was being fought, Pope Pius called upon all of Christendom to pray the rosary, begging Our Lady for victory. The outnumbered forces defeated the Ottoman Turks, and the pope declared the day the Feast of Our Lady of Victory in honor of her intercession.

The wearing of white vestments by future popes is credited to Pope Pius V as he continued to wear the habit of the Dominican order while serving as pope.  Pope Pius V died on May 1, 1572, and was canonized by Pope Clement XI on May 22, 1712.

Download the free Saint of the Month poster designed by Emily Prause using the button below. You can pin it to your classroom wall or place it on your refrigerator to help your children learn more about Pope Saint Pius V.

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About Mary Ellen Barrett

Mother of seven children and two in heaven, Mary is wife to David and a lifelong New Yorker. She has homeschooled her children for eleven years using Seton and an enormous amount of books. She is a columnist for The Long Island Catholic and blogs here . Meet Mary Ellen.
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