Saint Robert Francis Bellarmine was born at Montepulciano, in Tuscany, in Italy. He joined the Society of Jesus when he was eighteen years old. In 1599, in spite of all his protestations and entreaties, and even tears, he was made a cardinal by Pope Clement VIII, and in 1602 became Archbishop of Capua. He died on the seventeenth of September, 1621, the feast of the Stigmata of Saint Francis of Assisi, a saint to whom he was very much devoted. Saint Robert Bellarmine was one of the greatest and most learned men in the history of the Church. He was declared Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI, in 1931. He is one of the two priests of the Society of Jesus who are Doctors of the Church. The other is Saint Peter Canisius. Queen Elizabeth of England was so afraid of the writings of Saint Robert Bellarmine that she forbade any of her subjects to read them. Pope Benedict XIV called Saint Robert Bellarmine “the Hammer of Heretics,” the title also given to Saint Anthony of Padua. Pope Benedict XV entitled him “the Model of the Defenders of the Faith.” It is Saint Robert Bellarmine who assures us that the body of Saint John the Evangelist, Our Lady’s first Eucharist child, is with her in Heaven.
Saint Robert Bellarmine (1621)
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