Pope Saint Pius V

Pope St. Pius V (1504–1572) was born as Antonio Ghislieri to a poor yet noble family in Bosco, Italy. He worked as a shepherd until the age of 14, after which he joined the Dominican Order and was ordained a priest at the age of 24. He taught theology and philosophy, spent long hours in prayer, and fasted regularly. Due to his great intelligence and reputation for holiness he rose to a number of prominent positions in the Church, including Inquisitor and Bishop. In 1565 he was elected Pope and took the name Pope Pius V. As Supreme Pontiff he was a great reformer and worked to implement the decisions of the Council of Trent following the Protestant revolt. He reformed the clergy, supported the foreign missions, published a catechism, revised the breviary and missal, and named St. Thomas Aquinas a Doctor of the Church. In his alliance with Venice and Spain, and with the aid of a rosary crusade among the faithful, he defeated the Ottoman Turks in the famous and decisive Battle of Lepanto in the Mediterranean sea on October 7, 1571. This miraculous victory saved Europe from being ruled by the Ottoman Empire. The Holy Father afterwards instituted the feast of Our Lady of Victory (now Our Lady of the Rosary) in thanksgiving to Our Lady for leading the Christian forces to victory, and to encourage a greater devotion to the Holy Rosary throughout the universal Church. For this he is known as the "Pope of the Rosary." His feast day is April 30th.

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