St. Peter Celestine

Pope, Confessor

Feast Day - May 19

Peter, called Celestine from the name he took as Pope, was born of good Catholic parents in Isernia in the Abruzzi. He had scarcely entered adolescence when, in order to guard his soul from the enticements of the world, he withdrew into solitude. There he strengthened his mind with contemplation and brought his body into servitude, wearing an iron chain next to his skin. He founded the Congregation later known as Celestines, under the rule of St. Benedict. But like a lamp set on its stand, he could not be hid: without his presence or his knowledge, he was chosen to fill the Chair of Peter in the Roman Church.

The Church had long been widowed of its pastor, and this unexpected choice filled all men with amazement and with sudden joy. But when Peter had been elevated to the papacy, he found that, disturbed by its many cares, he could hardly carry out his accustomed meditations, and of his own free will he resigned both the burden and the honor. Then he resumed his former way of life until death came. Precious in the sight of the Lord, his death was made still more glorious by a shining cross which hung in the air before the door of his cell. He was famous for many miracles, performed both in his lifetime and after his death. Having duly examined these, Clement V enrolled him among the Saints eleven years after his death.

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. 1815-1816.

Related Link:

Epistle and Gospel for May 19