St. Robert Bellarmine

Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church

Feast Day - May 13

Robert was born at Montepulciano of the patrician family of Bellarmine, and had a most devout mother, Cynthia Cervini, the sister of Pope Marcellus II. Outstanding for his devotion and chastity, the young man entered the Society of Jesus at the age of twenty-two, and until his death he was a model of the religious virtues for all his confreres. After his course in philosophy, he was first sent to Florence, then to Mondovi, Padua and Louvain; and he filled the offices of teacher and preacher in an admirable way, even though he was not yet a priest. Later he was ordained to the priesthood at Louvain; and he taught theology in such a way as soon to be considered the most famous theologian in all Europe.

Recalled to Rome, he taught apologetics in the Roman College, where he was also appointed spiritual director, and led the angelic young Aloysius along the paths of holiness. Over his protests, he was made Cardinal by Pope Clement VIII, and soon after was consecrated bishop, ruling the archdiocese of Capua for three years in a most holy way. He resigned this office to become a counselor of the highest integrity and loyalty to the Supreme Pontiff in Rome until, when he was almost eighty years old, on September 17, 1621, he died a holy death in the Lord. Besides his polemical works he wrote many other noteworthy books, among which his little golden catechism remains famous. Pope Pius XI added the name of this strong defender of the Catholic Faith to the number of the Saints and declared him a Doctor of the universal Church.

Taken from The Hours of the Divine Office in English and Latin, Vol. II: Passion Sunday to August (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1963), pp. 1803-1804.