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Bishop Ralph Vendegna S.O.S.M.A.

Saint of the Day

  •   Saint of the Day

    Saint of the Day

    Blessed Pope Benedict XI

    Bl. Pope Benedict XI (1240-1304) was born in Italy with the name Nicholas Boccasini. At the age of 14 he entered the Dominican Order, and went on to become a theology professor before being named Master General of the Order in 1296. As Master of the Dominicans, Boccasini defended Pope Boniface VIII when the hostility of secular rulers towards the Roman Pontiff grew, especially during the pope's open conflict with the King of France. In reward for his loyalty, Boccasini was elevated to Cardinal and then Bishop of Ostia. When Hungary was torn with civil war, Boccasini was sent there by the Holy See to restore peace. When he returned to Rome, the Pope's conflict with France reached its height; Boniface VIII was seized, beaten, and driven from the Sacred Palace by his enemies, while Boccasini was one of only two cardinals who defended the Holy Father to the end. After Boniface VIII died, Boccasini was elected in his place and took the name Pope Benedict XI. He excommunicated all those who had taken part in the seizure and abuse of his predecessor, while at the same time restoring peace with the French court. In this time of tumult he repaired the damage with leniency, yet without compromising the Holy See or the good memory of the previous pope. His reign was brief; he died suddenly of a suspected poisoning after only eight months in office. Bl. Pope Benedict XI was the author of a volume of sermons and commentaries on the Gospel of Matthew, Psalms, Job, and Revelation. His feast day is July 7th.