Saint of the Day ~ January 18

SAINT CHARLES of SEZZE (1613-1670), religious

Today, the Church honors Saint Charles of Sezze, a religious brother who was renowned for his spirit of humility, charity and love for neighbor – all attributes of one who truly embraced the Way of the Cross in his own life.

Charles was born John Charles Marchioni on October 19, 1613, in the rural community of Sezze, southeast of Rome, Italy. He came from a very pious and humble family; and, as a child, Charles worked as a shepherd.

His family encouraged his vocation to the priesthood, but due to his lack of education (for it is said he learned only the basics and could barely read and write), he joined the Franciscans as a religious brother in Naziano, Italy at the age of twenty-two. Due to poor health which prevented his going on foreign missions, he served in assorted menial positions, such as cook, porter, and gardener at friaries near Rome.

Brother Charles was known for his holiness, simplicity, and charity. He was generous to travelers and was also sought by many for his spiritual advice. In 1656, he worked tirelessly with victims of the bubonic plague, which seemed to linger in certain areas of Europe long after its initial outbreak in 1347.

Over the years, his education had greatly improved and he wrote several mystical works including his autobiography titled “The Grandeurs of the Mercies of God”. He also bore a visibly open wound in his side, said to have been opened by a piercing ray of light that came from an elevated Host during Mass at the Church of Saint Joseph a Capo le Case. And tradition states that the dying Pope Clement IX called Charles to his bedside for a special blessing.

Brother Charles died on January 6, 1670 in the Church of San Francesco a Ripa in Rome, and his remains are interred there. He was canonized a saint by Pope St. John XXIII on April 12, 1959.

We commemorate his feastday on January 18.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com and americancatholic.org)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Religious)

“Lord God, You kept Saint Charles faithful to Christ’s pattern of poverty and humility. May his prayers help us to live in fidelity to our calling and bring us to the perfection You have shown us in Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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