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Charles Borromeo's Early Years

Author : Bob and Penny Lord

Copyright (c) 2010 Bob and Penny Lord's Site

The Lord was to raise up a brilliant son in Charles Borromeo. He came from good Catholic Italian stock. His father was a Count, very skillful and spiritual. His mother was a Medici, and his uncle on his mother's side was to become Pope Pius IV.

So Charles grew up in an aristocratic, truly Catholic background. Charles was born near the breathtakingly beautiful Lade Maggiore, in the caste of Arona, bordering the Swiss border. It was the year 1538.

Charles Borromeo was a serious and pious young man. His family played a crucial role in matters of the Faith. They were very devout Catholics. Charles was surrounded by a number of priests, bishops and even a few Cardinals and His Holiness, Pope Pius IV gracing his parents with their presence.

It was in this solid background that he became so strong in the Faith. It was a gift from the Lord which would stay with him all the days of his life.

At age twelve or somewhere in his early teens, Charles was given the Benedictine Abbey of Sts. Gratinian and Felinus in Arona by his uncle, Julius Caesar Borromeo, for his very own. At that time, he also received the clerical tonsure. It was interesting how seriously Charles took this gift from his uncle, looking on it as more of a responsibility, than as a means of adding to his personal wealth.

As young as he was, he made a point of reminding his father that income from the Abbey could not be used for their household or for any secular purpose, including paying for the upkeep of their palace. He used the income from the property for the maintenance of the Abbey, for his religious education, and for the care of the poor and homeless.

He was very strict at this early age and would not use any part of it even for his secular education. He observed the rules beyond the letter of the law. He was very strict, and although in his position, he would have been allowed to bend them, it was not in keeping with his religious beliefs.

In preparation for a career in service to the Church, he learned Latin in Milan. He attended the university of Pavia, where he was taught under the tutelage of Francis Alciati, who later became a cardinal of the Church.

Charles had a speech impediment which, coupled with a slowness in grasping the subject material he was given, gave the impression that he was backward. But he was like the tortoise in the account of the tortoise and the hare. He was slow but solid. His experience and what he learned would be used to defend the Church of the 16th Century.

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Bob and Penny Lord are renowned Catholic authors and television hosts on EWTN, Global Catholic television. They are prolific writers about the Catholic faith, especially the Saints for which they have been dubbed experts on the Saints. For more about Saint Charles Borromeo go to

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Tags:   catholic saints, saint charles borromeo, charles borromeo, bob and penny lord, roman catholic saints

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Submitted : 2010-12-04    Word Count : 1    Times Viewed: 165