When Charles was born in 1538, the world was in a state of upheaval due to the protestant reformation. Heresies were common and even the faithful were confused about what Catholics really believe. It was at this time that God raised up great Saints to lead the counter-reformation and to bring His people back to a true understanding of the Catholic faith.
Charles Borromeo was a bright student from a powerful family and was ordained a priest and then the bishop of Milan when he was only 25 years old! Among his impressive credentials, he was a major figure at the Council of Trent and oversaw the creation of a catechism, missal, and breviary. He was very concerned with the lax teaching of the day and worked to establish seminaries to educate clergy, and founded the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) for the religious education of children.
Saint Charles’ example of personal holiness gained him the love of the people of Milan. He came from a wealthy family, but spent his fortune for the benefit of those under his care, founding schools for the poor, hospitals, and seminaries. His devotion to Saint Francis prompted him to live a very humble, simple life and it wasn’t uncommon to see him working with the poorest residents of the city.
Saint Charles, patron of catechists, pray for us as we strive to lead our families to a greater holiness. Help us to follow your example, giving generously to provide sound teaching and an example of love and service in the pattern of our Lord, Jesus Christ.