ST ROBERT BELLARMINE; BISHOP, CONFESSOR, AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH – MEMORIAL: 17 SEPTEMBER
Robert Bellarmine’s family was of the Italian nobility and native to Montepulciano. His mother was the devout Cynthia Cervini, sister of Pope Marcellus II. Robert was highly regarded for his exemplary holiness and the restraint and chastity of his manners and disposition. At eighteen, he entered the Society of Jesus at Rome and for the rest of his life was never anything but a model religious.
After his course in philosophy, he was sent to Florence, and then to Monreale, Padua, and Louvain, where he preached with distinction, even though he was not yet a priest. After ordination at Louvain, the brilliance of his theology classes earned him a reputation as the foremost theologian throughout Europe.
Recalled to Rome, he taught apologetics and became spiritual director at the Roman College, where he guided young Aloysius in holiness. Although Robert wished to decline, Pope Clement VIII appointed him a cardinal. Shortly thereafter, he was consecrated a bishop, and ruled the Archdiocese of Capua in a saintly manner for three years. He resigned his office to become a faithful and impartial counsellor of great acumen to the Pope.
Nearing his eightieth birthday, he died with great piety on September 17, 1621. He wrote volumes of controversies, and many other outstanding books. His little golden Catechism remains famous to this day. Pius XI inscribed this steadfast defender of Catholic truth among the saints and declared him a Doctor of the universal Church.