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Saint Charles Borromeo (Arona, 1538 – Milan, 1584) was an Italian cardinal, the first bishop to found seminaries for the formation of future priests; he promoted diocesan synods; he abounded in catechetical writings and knowledge of the Catholic doctrine.
He was the son of Count Gilberto Borromeo and of Margarete de Medici, sister of Pope Pio IV (1559 – 1659) of whom he was a nephew. Charles received an optimal human and christian formation, in the form of studying at the University of Paivia and he stood out in his easy ability to administrate and how to treat people. Called to Rome by the pope, his uncle, Saint Charles even before receiving the Sacrment of Holy Orders, accepted the nomination and responsabilities as Cardinal and Archbishop of Milan at a time when the Church was opening up to its internal renovation.
A bishop who became for the Church a model as a pastor and of charity, as he was completly consumed by guardng and saving souls. Saint Charles, soon after having helped the Pope and having motivated him to put into practice all the inspired content of the Council of Trent (1545 -1563), undertook with ardor the mission to obey the decisions of the Council, which responded to the needs of the Church of that epoch, and also to take to all the faithful of the Milan Diocese to Christ. .
Detimined, he was the first bishop to found seminaries for the future priests, he promoted dicoesan synods, wrote abundant catechetical writings and was knowledgeable in the Catholic Doctrine, promoted good media and assisted with his zeal and holy apostolate all in his region besides helping in the Evangelization of other areas of Europe. in this way he gave his live to God, spending it totally on the well being of others and the Church.
He came from a noble Italian family, was made cardinal and archbishop of Milan by his uncle, Pope Pio IV. Feeling attracted to a contemplative life, he thought about reunouncing his archdiocese. But his friend the Venerable Bishop Bartolomey of Martires, Archbishop of Braga, dissuaded him from the idea, convincing him that, in that century in which the high clergy so many times gave a bad example, it would be better that he, higlhy placed on the social scale and whats more the nephew of a pope, give the good example of a holy life as archpishop. Thats what made Saint Charles Borromeu, a perfect model of a pastor de zelous souls, which he applied in Milan in the reforms ordered by the Council of Trent.
Bento XVI in refering to him affirmed: His stands out in the XVI century as a model of an exemplary pastor in charity, doctrine, apostolic zeal and above all, in prayer.
He completely dedicated himself to the Ambrosian Church, he visited it three times. He convoked six provincial and eleven diocesan synods; founded seminaries to form a new generation of priests; built hospitals and destined the family riches for the service of the poor; defended the rights of the Church against the powerful; renewed religious life and instituted a new congregation of secular preist , the Oblates. (…) His motto consisted of one word only: “Humilitas”. Humbleness drove him, like the Lord Jesus, to renounce himself to make himself a servant of all.