04.11.

1584: St. Charles Borromeo – A Saint from a Family which Produced Seven Cardinals

1584: St. Charles Borromeo – A Saint from a Family which Produced Seven Cardinals
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Story Highlights

  • historical event: In a time when hunger and plague reigned in Milan, the rulers of the city fled in order to save themselves, but St. Charles Borromeo bravely decided to stay. He tried to feed 60,000 to 70,000 people each day, and secure the necessary care for the dying. He invested his own money to save the hungry, and even went into debt.

The well-known Italian saint, Charles Borromeo, died on this day in 1584. During his life, he held various church offices – he was the Archbishop of Milan for roughly 20 years (Milan is the largest archdiocese in the world according to the number of believers). St. Charles was also a Cardinal of the Catholic Church for a long time.

The saint was of very interesting origins. Namely, he belonged to the powerful Borromeo family, one of the most famous in Lombardy. Many are today familiar with the Borromean Islands on the Lago Maggiore lake, which is located northwest of Milan. The most famous of these islands is Isola Bella, on which the imposing Borromeo Palace is located, together with its equally-imposing garden.

Apart from St. Charles, famous members of the Borromeo family include Federico Borromeo, who was also a cardinal and the Archbishop of Milan. Altogether, the family produced as many as seven cardinals of the Catholic Church.

In a time when hunger and plague reigned in Milan, the rulers of the city fled in order to save themselves, but St. Charles Borromeo bravely decided to stay. He tried to feed 60,000 to 70,000 people each day, and secure the necessary care for the dying. He invested his own money to save the hungry, and even went into debt.

On this day St. Charles died of an infectious disease at the age of 46. A large bronze statue was made in his honor, which depicts him in a standing position. The statue is 23.5 meters tall, while its pedestal is 11.5 meters, for a total of 35. This is the tallest statue in Italy, and one of the tallest bronze sculptures in the world.

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