Saint Carlo Borromeo, pray for us
Updated: Nov 10, 2021
Today is the feast day of my name saint, Charles Borromeo, the great 16th century reforming Cardinal Archbishop of Milan. A member of one of the leading families of Milan, his appointment as Cardinal at the young age of 22 by his uncle, the Pope, was no doubt intended to maneuver into high office an inexperienced and bookish young man into a powerful position where he could be easily manipulated by those around him.
Instead, Carlo became an ardent reformer, leading by his ascetical and incorruptible example the diocese entrusted to him. He was a leading figure at the Council of Trent and promoted the theological and spiritual education of his priests, founded the Confraternity for Christian Doctrine for the education of the lay faithful and ruthlessly weeded out incompetent and corrupt clergy.
In an era when a Cardinal was also a secular prince, remote and distant in his palace, Carlo ministered in person to the sick and the destitute of his city, even in the midst of repeated outbreaks of the plague.
Saint Charles Borromeo is my patron saint because I'm named after my grandfather, Charles Leo Leonard and my great-grandfather, Charles Francis McGuirk.
To date I haven't written an icon of Saint Charles or done a relief print of him, but when I get a little more caught up, I will. In the meantime, he's a sign of the great good that the Holy Spirit can accomplish, even in the most unpromising of circumstances.
Saint Carlo, pray for us!