Born 17 January 1504 – Died 1 May 1572

Pope from 8th January 1566 to his death

Known for great saintliness, being a man of prayer, his role in the Council of Trent, the Counter-Reformation, his standardization of the Roman Church liturgies, and the formation of an alliance of Christian leaders against the spread of  the Turks.

Born Antonio Ghisleri, of poor but noble birth in Bosco, Milan, Italy, and was accepted into the Dominicans at the age of 14, taking the religious name Michele.  He was ordained a priest in 1528 in Genoa.  He then went on to lecture theology and philosophy for 16 years.  He also served as master of novices and was elected prior of several Dominican houses.  He was made Bishop of Sutri by Paul II in 1566.  A year later he was named inquisitor general for all Christendom and made cardinal by Paul II.  He was elected Pope on the death of Pope Pius IV in 1566.  He was generous in alms-giving and visited hospitals, ministering to the sick and dying.  He maintained a strict prayer life spending time each day with the Blessed Sacrament and lived a very simple life in the papal court, following the example of his Dominican community life. 

Pope St Pius V & the Carmelites

The counter-reformation was in full swing.  Pope Pius V knew that the church needed to be reformed from within so he sent out apostolic visitors to look upon the religious orders Rome felt needed to be reformed because of their lax lifestyles and scandalous behaviour at times. He is quoted as saying:

'All the evils of the world are due to lukewarm Catholics.'

It was after the death of Pius V that the Dominican apostolic commisary, Pedro Fernandez, finally visited the Carmelites at the Incarnation, Avila, (1574) and found great disorder there.  He sent for Teresa and made her prioress. Many of the nuns disobeyed her and some went into hysterics when she told them what they needed to do.  As she puts it, “changing a habit is like death.”  She told them she was there to serve them, but could not coerce them.   Over time she gained their respect and they went on to try and have her re-elected as prioress when the stated three years were over.

Beatification by Pope Clement X in 1672

Canonization by Pope Clement XI on 22 May 1712.

Feastday - April 30th

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