Statue of St Carlo Borromeo

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Arona on the shores of Lago Maggiore in northern Italy.

Saint Charles Borromeo (Italian: Carlo Borromeo; Latinized as Carolus Borromeus) (October 2, 1538 – November 3, 1584) is an Italian saint and was a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He worked during the period of the Counter-Reformation and was responsible for significant reforms in the Catholic Church, including the founding of seminaries for the education of priests.Borromeo was the nephew of Pope Pius IV. Along with Anselm of Lucca, he was one of only two cardinal-nephews to have been canonized.
The son of Giberto II Borromeo, conte (count) of Arona, and Margherita de’ Medici (sister of Pope Pius IV), Carlo Borromeo was born at the castle of Arona on the shores of Lago Maggiore in northern Italy. The aristocratic Borromeo family’s coat of arms included the Borromean rings, sometimes taken to symbolize the Holy Trinity.
His relative Federico Borromeo and admirers commissioned a statue 20 m high that was erected on the hill above Arona, as they regarded him an important leader of the Counter-Reformation.
The famous church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane in Rome was dedicated in his honor.
People’s devotion to Borromeo as a saint arose quickly and continued to grow. The Milanese celebrated his anniversary as though he were already canonized. Supporters collected documentation for his canonization. They began the process at Milan, Pavia, Bologna and other places.
In 1602 Paul V beatified Borromeo. In 1604 his case was sent on to the Congregation of Rites. On 1 November 1610, Pope Paul V canonized Charles Borromeo. Three years later, the church added Borromeo’s feast to the Roman Catholic calendar of saints for celebration on 4 November, which is still his feast.
The position which Charles Borromeo held in Europe was indeed remarkable. He is venerated as a saint of learning and the arts. The mass of correspondence both to and by him testifies to the way in which his opinion was sought. The popes under whom he served sought his advice. The Catholic sovereigns of Europe: Henry III of France, Philip II of Spain, Mary Queen of Scots and others showed how they valued his influence.
His brother cardinals wrote in praise of his virtues. Cardinal Valerio of Verona said of him that Borromeo was “to the well-born a pattern of virtue, to his brother cardinals an example of true nobility.” Cardinal Baronius styled him “a second Ambrose, whose early death, lamented by all good men, inflicted great loss on the Church.”
Late in the sixteenth or at the beginning of the seventeenth century, Catholics in England circulated among themselves a “Life of St. Charles”.2 Saint Edmund Campion, a Jesuit who visited Borromeo at Milan in 1580 on his way to England, likely took his influence with him. Campion visited with Borromeo for eight days, when they would talk at length every night after dinner. Borromeo had also been involved in English affairs when he assisted Pius IV. He had a great veneration for the portrait of Bishop Fisher.
Borromeo also worked closely with Francis Borgia, General of the Jesuits, and with Andrew Avellino of the Theatines, who gave great help to his work in Milan.

Saint Carlo Borromeo

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