ST PETER CELESTINE, POPE AND CONFESSOR; FEAST DAY: MAY 19
Peter who, from the name he took as Pope, is called Celestine, was born at Isernia, in the Abruzzi, of respectable Catholic parents. Before he scarcely matured, he retired into a lonely place, that he might guard his soul from the temptations of the world.
There he nourished his soul with contemplation, bringing his body into subjection [1Cor 9:27], and wearing an iron chain next to his skin. He founded under the rule of St Benedict, the Congregation which was afterwards called the Celestines.
And so when, like a candle set upon a candlestick, he could no longer be hidden (the Roman Church having for a long time been deprived of a shepherd), he was elected to the Chair of Peter without his knowledge and in his absence.
The news of his election filled everyone with as great amazement, as it did with sudden joy. But when he had been elevated to the papacy, distracted with various troubles, he saw that it was almost impossible to attend to his accustomed meditations, and resigned the burden, as well as the honour, of his own free will. And then, returning to his former mode of life, fell asleep in the Lord. Precious in his sight, God made Peter’s death even more glorious by placing a shining cross in the air before the door of his cell. He was illustrious for many miracles, both before and after his death; and these being seriously considered, Clement V, eleven years after he died, included him among the number of the saints.
– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964