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April 30

Saint of the day:

Saint Pius V

Patron Saint of Valletta, Malta, Bosco Marengo, Italy,

Pietrelcina, Italy, Roccaforte Mondovi, Diocese of Alessandria

Saint Pius V’s Story

This is the pope whose job it was to implement the historic Council of Trent. If we think popes had difficulties in implementing Vatican Council II, Pius V had even greater problems after Trent four centuries earlier.

During his papacy (1566-1572), Pius V was faced with the almost overwhelming responsibility of getting a shattered and scattered Church back on its feet. The family of God had been shaken by corruption, by the Reformation, by the constant threat of Turkish invasion, and by the bloody bickering of the young nation-states. In 1545, a previous pope convened the Council of Trent in an attempt to deal with all these pressing problems. Off and on over 18 years, the Fathers of the Church discussed, condemned, affirmed, and decided upon a course of action. The Council closed in 1563.

Pius V was elected in 1566 and charged with the task of implementing the sweeping reforms called for by the Council. He ordered the founding of seminaries for the proper training of priests. He published a new missal, a new breviary, a new catechism and established the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine classes for the young. Pius zealously enforced legislation against abuses in the Church. He patiently served the sick and the poor by building hospitals, providing food for the hungry, and giving money customarily used for the papal banquets to poor Roman converts. His decision to keep wearing his Dominican habit led to the custom–to this day–of the pope wearing a white cassock.

In striving to reform both Church and state, Pius encountered vehement opposition from England’s Queen Elizabeth and the Roman Emperor Maximilian II. Problems in France and in the Netherlands also hindered Pius’s hopes for a Europe united against the Turks. Only at the last minute was he able to organize a fleet which won a decisive victory in the Gulf of Lepanto, off Greece, on October 7, 1571.

Pius’s ceaseless papal quest for a renewal of the Church was grounded in his personal life as a Dominican friar. He spent long hours with his God in prayer, fasted rigorously, deprived himself of many customary papal luxuries, and faithfully observed the spirit of the Dominican Rule that he had professed.



Basilica of St Mary Major

Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore 42

Rome, Italy

*This basilica has two large transept chapels. The chapel in the right transept contains the remains of St Pius V.

His body is enshrined on the left side of this chapel.

*Within the porphyry base of the Papal Altar in the main body of this church are some relics of St Matthias.

Also prominently placed within the confessio below this altar are five pieces of wood believed to be from the crib of Jesus Christ.

*The remains of St Jerome (d. 420) were brought to this basilica in the 12th century. There is some doubt as to their exact location.

They either rest under the Papal Altar within the main body of the church or within the confessio in the right transept.


Native home of St. Pius V,  Bosco


San Pietro al Bosco church, Bosco Marengo


Vision of Victory


Pope St. Pius V attributed the military victory to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was invoked on the day of the battle through a campaign to pray the Rosary throughout Europe. Pope Pius V called on all of Europe to recite the Rosary and ordered a 40 hour devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Rome during the time the battle took place.
Despite the Holy League’s fleet being vastly outnumbered, all but 13 of the nearly 300 Turkish ships were captured or sunk. The Christian forces won a decisive battle, saving all of Christendom by checking the expansion of Turkish power.

Battle of Lepanto
It seems that Pope St. Pius’ declaration establishing the recitation of the Holy Rosary for the entire Church in 1569 came just in time for its use two years later in the Battle of Lepanto! The day of the victory, October 7th, was instituted as the feast day of Our Lady of Victory, which was later called Our Lady of the Rosary as we know it today.
The feast day of Pope Pius V is a great reminder of the power of the Holy Rosary and that we can turn to our Blessed Mother for all victories, both temporal and spiritual.





Rosary cakes, cupcakes, and cookies are fun to make for this day.

I made a small white rosary cake for a friend...I wish I took a picture with the dowels out of the bow. 

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