Our Patron Saint

About Our Patron Saint  -St. Charles Borromeo

Biography of St. Charles Borromeo

St. Charles, of the noble family Borromeo, was born on October 2, 1538 in the castle of Arona at Lake Majiore in Italy.  He received the clerical tonsure at 12, as soon as his age would allow.  He studied at Milan and later at the University of Pavia, where he received his doctorate in civil and canon law in 1559.  

In the same year, his uncle, the Cardinal de Medici, was elected Pope under the title of Pius IV.  In 1560, Pope Pius IV appointed St. Charles, then 22, cardinal and archbishop of Milan.

Later, as papal secretary of state, St. Charles was instrumental in reassembling the Council of Trent in 1562.  He led the reformation of the Church and was active in composing the Roman Catechism, containing the teaching of the Council.


Among his many contributions to the Church, he encouraged the proper training of priests by founding several seminaries and colleges.  He also supported religious instruction of children.

His relief mesures in Milan saved many lives during the plague of 1576-78.


St. Charles died on November 3 in Milan at the age of 47.  He was cannonized in 1610.  His feast day is November 4.


A Novena to St. Charles Borromeo

O Glorious St. Charles! the father of the clergy, and the perfect model of holy prelates! thou art that good pastor, who, like thy divine Master, didst give up thy life for thy flock, if not by death, at least by the numerous sacrifices of thy painful mission. Thy sanctified life on earth was a spur to the most fervent, thy exemplary penance was a reproach to the slothful, and thy indefatigable zeal was the support of the Church. O great Prelate! since the glory of God and the salvation of souls are the only objects of solicitude to the blessed in heaven, vouchsafe to intercede for me now, and to offer up for the intention of this Novena, those fervent prayers which were so successful while thou wrert on earth. {Here specify your requests.)

Thou art, O great St. Charles! among all the Saints of God, one in whose intercession I should most confide, because thou were chosen by God to promote the interests of religion, by promoting the Christian education of youth. Thou were, like Jesus Christ Himself, always accessible to little ones; for whom thou didst thyself break the bread of the word of God, and procure for them also the blessings of a Christian Education. To thee, then, I have recourse with confidence, beseeching thee to obtain for me the grace to profit of the advantages I enjoy, and for which I am so considerably indebted to thy zeal. Preserve me by thy prayers from the dangers of tne World; obtain that my heart may be impressed with a lively horror of sin; a deep sense of my duty as a Christian; a sincere contempt for the opinion and false maxims of the world; an ardent love for God, and that holy fear which is the beginning of wisdom.


Litany of St. Charles Borromeo
(Can be said as part of the Novena or as a Separate Litany) 

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us, 
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of heaven,
Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us. *

Queen of Apostles, *
St. Charles, *
St. Charles, imitator of Christ, *
St. Charles, faithful follower of Christ crucified, *
St. Charles, replenished with the spirit of the Apostles, *
St. Charles, consumed with zeal for the glory of God, *
St. Charles, Father and Guide of the Clergy, *
St. Charles, the light and support of the Church, *
St. Charles, a model of humility and penance, *
St. Charles, most desirous of the salvation of souls, *
St. Charles, most zealous, for the instruction of youth, *
St. Charles, Patron of the Ursuline Schools, *

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, 
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, 
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, 
Have mercy on us.

V. Pray for us, O glorious St. Charles.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray: 

Preserve thy Church, O Lord, under the continual protection of thy glorious Confessor and Bishop, St. Charles, that as he was eminent for the discharge of his pastoral duties, so his prayers may make us zealous in the love of Thy holy name: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.






St. Charles Borromeo Prayer

Almighty God,

You have generously made known to human beings the mysteries of Your life through Jesus Christ Your Son in the Holy Spirit. Enlighten my mind to know these mysteries which Your Church treasures and teaches.

Move my heart to love them and my will to live in accordance with them. Give me the ability to teach this Faith to others without pride, without ostentation, and without personal gain. Let me realize that I am simply Your instrument for bringing others to the knowledge of the wonderful things You have done for all Your creatures. Help me to be faithful to this task that You have entrusted to me.


Patron Saint of Learning

St. Charles spent as much time as possible reading his many books, especially Holy Scripture. The Ambrosian Library was dedicated to all of St. Charles manuscripts and books, and the founder of the library was St. Charles’ nephew, Cardinal Frederico Borromeo, his brother’s only son who was ordained a priest shortly after the Archbishop’s death in 1578. The purpose of the Ambrosian Library is to further scholarly research in art history, and religion. The name of the library stems from the fact that St. Charles, in 1578, founded a society of secular priests called the Oblates of St. Ambrose (later changed to the Oblates of St. Charles Borromeo). [20]


Online Giving

Online Giving

Secure and Convenient Donate now!