Saint Robert Bellarmine

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Saint Robert Bellarmine

Doctor of the Church, Cardinal
(1542-1621)

Saint Robert Bellarmine was born at Montepulciano, Italy in 1542, the third of ten children. After being educated by the Jesuits, he joined the Society of Jesus in 1560, and as a young man taught Greek, Hebrew and theology. While at Louvain University he became famous as a controversialist, and never afterwards did he cease to defend Catholic doctrine against its adversaries. He has enriched the Church with a large number of learned and valuable writings, among which are his Course of Controversy, his famous Commentary on the Psalms, and a treatise on The Seven Last Words of Jesus Christ.

In 1598 Saint Robert was made a Cardinal and in 1602 was raised to the archbishopric of Capua. In 1605 he was recalled to Rome and appointed head of the Vatican Library. He served as theologian and counselor to five Popes: Sixtus V, Innocent IX, Clement VIII, Paul V, and Gregory XV. He died in October of 1621, greatly mourned by the people of Rome as well as by the hierarchy, and was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930. The following year the same Vicar of Christ declared him a Doctor of the Church. His tomb is in the Jesuit Church, the Gesù, in Rome.

Heavenly Friends: a Saint for each Day, by Rosalie Marie Levy (Saint Paul Editions: Boston, 1958); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 11

SS. Nereus and Achilleus

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SS. Nereus and Achilleus, Martyrs

THEY were eunuchs or chamberlains belonging to St. Flavia Domitilla, zealous Christians, and with her were banished by Domitian into a little isle on the coast of Terracina, called Pontia. Their acts say, that they were afterwards beheaded at Terracina, under Trajan. Their festival was kept at Rome with great solemnity in the sixth age, when St. Gregory the Great spoke on it his twenty-eighth homily, in which he says: “These saints before whose tomb we are assembled, despised the world and trampled it under their feet, when peace, plenty, riches, and health gave it charms.” Their old church in Rome lay in ruins, when Baronius, to whom it gave the title of cardinal, rebuilt it with splendour, and restored to it their relics, which had been removed to the chapel of St. Adrian.

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume V: May. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. May 12