St. Robert Bellarmine is the Patron Saint of Catechists and has inspired my desire to continually deepen my knowledge of the Faith and to share the Faith with all those who will hear it. Here is a short reflection on the life of this great saint from ʻSaints and Feasts of the Liturgical Year' (Tylenda, J.N., 2003)
"St. Robert Bellarmine was the greatest theologian of his age and an intrepid defender of the Church. He was born on October 4, 1542, in Montepulciano, in central Italy. On his mother’s side, he was the nephew of Pope Marcellus II (1555). Robert entered the Society of Jesus in 1560 and did his ecclesiastical studies in Rome (1560–63), Padua (1567–69), and Louvain (1569–70). In this last city, though he was not yet a priest, he delivered Latin sermons every Sunday to the university community. After ordination, he was appointed (1570) professor of theology at the Jesuit school in Louvain, and because this was the time when the Reformation doctrines of Luther and Calvin were fast spreading through Europe, he taught his classes with a view to answering the objections the Reformers brought against the Church. In 1577, he was transferred to Rome, where he was given the chair of “controversial theology.” His lectures, which treated the theological disputes that were then dividing the Church, were eventually published under the title Controversies. In 1597, Pope Clement VIII made him his theological adviser; and two years later (1599), a cardinal and appointed him to serve on several congregations. In 1602, he became Archbishop of Capua, but upon the election of Pope Paul V in 1605, he was asked to remain in Rome and again be a papal adviser. He fulfilled the same office under Pope Gregory XV (1621–23). Due to failing health, he received papal permission to retire to the Jesuit novitiate in Rome, and there he died on September 17, 1621. He was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930. In recognition of his theological writings, Pope Pius XI also declared (1931) him a doctor of the Church. The prayer in today’s Mass refers to St. Robert’s God-given wisdom, which he used in defending the faith."
image from the 'Public domain' via wikimedia commons. St. Robert Bellarmine. 16th Century