Saint John of Matha

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Saint John of Matha


The life of Saint John of Matha, born in southern France of an illustrious family, was consecrated to God by a vow at his birth. His life from his youth was exemplary, by his self-sacrifice for the glory of God and the good of his neighbor. As a child, his chief pleasure was serving the poor; and he would say to them that he had come into the world for no other end but to care for them. He served every Friday in a hospital, and obtained for the sick whatever they needed. Later he studied in Paris with such distinction that his professors advised him to become a priest, in order that his talents might render greater service to others. For this purpose John gladly sacrificed his high rank and other worldly advantages.
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Pope Pius IX

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Pope Pius IX


Pope from 1846-78; born at Sinigaglia, 13 May, 1792; died in Rome, 7 February, 1878.


His early years. After receiving his classical education at the Piarist College in Volterra from 1802-09 he went to Rome to study philosophy and theology, but left there in 1810 on account of political disturbances. He returned in 1814 and, in deference to his father’s wish, asked to be admitted to the pope’s Noble Guard. Being subject to epileptic fits, he was refused admission and, following the desire of his mother and his own inclination, he studied theology at the Roman Seminary, 1814-18. Meanwhile his malady had ceased and he was ordained priest, 10 April, 1819. Pius VII appointed him spiritual director of the orphan asylum popularly known as “Tata Giovanni”, in Rome, and in 1823 sent him, as auditor of the Apostolic delegate, Mgr Muzi, to Chile in South America. Upon his return in 1825 he was made canon of Santa Maria in Via Lata and director of the large hospital of San Michele by Leo XII. The same pope created him Archbishop of Spoleto, 21 May, 1827. In 1831 when 4000 Italian revolutionists fled before the Austrian army and threatened to throw themselves upon Spoleto, the archbishop persuaded them to lay down their arms and disband, induced the Austrian commander to pardon them for their treason, and gave them sufficient money to reach their homes. On 17 February, 1832, Gregory XVI transferred him to the more important Diocese of Imola and, 14 December, 1840, created him cardinal priest with the titular church of Santi Pietro e Marcellino, after having reserved him since 23 December, 1839. He retained the Diocese of Imola until his elevation to the papacy. His great charity and amiability had made him beloved by the people, while his friendship with some of the revolutionists had gained for him the name of liberal.
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