(c.1538 - 1584)


CHARLES BORROMEO St (1538–84), Abp. of Milan. He was one of the leaders of the Counter-Reformation. Born of noble parentage at Arona on Lake Maggiore, he was early destined for the priesthood, and received his first benefice at the age of 12. In 1552 he went to Pavia, where he studied civil and canon law under Alciati. In 1559 his uncle, the newly elected Pius IV, summoned him to Rome and in 1560 created him cardinal and Abp. of Milan. He had much influence on the third and last group of sessions of the Council of Trent.

On his entry into Milan he set about a radical reformation of the see, tightening up the morals and manners of clergy and laity, and making the work of the diocese more effective. He reformed and eventually refounded an order of Oblates modelled on the Jesuits, the Oblates of St. Andrew (now Oblates of St. Charles), established seminaries for the education of the clergy, and reorganized a Confraternity of Christian Doctrine for instructing children. He took much personal interest in the sick and the poor, notably in the plague of 1576. His reforms provoked great hostility, but his influence was felt far outside his diocese, and in particular in Switzerland. He was canonized in 1610. Feast day, 4 Nov.

Charles Borromeo’s Sermons ed. J. A. Sassi (5 vols., Milan, 1747–8). His decrees and official acts are pr. in the Acta Ecclesiae Mediolanensis, 2–3, ed. A. Ratti [later *Pius XI] (ibid., 1890–92). Gli Atti della Visita Apostolica di S. Carlo Borromeo a Bergamo (1575), ed. A. G. Roncalli [later John XXIII] and P. Forno (Fontes Ambrosiani, 13–17; 1936–57). Modern edn. of his ‘Instructiones fabricae et supellectilis ecclesiasticae’ by P. Barocchi, Trattati d’Arte del Cinquecento, 3 (Bari, 1962), pp. 1–113. The primary authorities are the Lives by A. Valiero (Verona, 1586), C. Bascapè (Ingolstadt, 1592), and J. P. Giussano (Rome, 1610; Eng. tr., with preface by H. E. Manning, 2 vols., 1884). A. Sala, Documenti circa la vita e le gesta di San Carlo Borromeo (4 vols., 1857–62). Id., Biographia di San Carlo Borromeo (1858). Other modern studies by M. Yeo (London, 1938; popular), A. Deroo (Paris, 1963), and H. Jedin (tr. into Ital., Rome, 1971), with useful bibl. P. Prodi, ‘Charles Borromée, archevêque de Milan, et la papauté’, RHE 62 (1967), pp. 379–411. J. M. Headley and J. B. Tomaro (eds.), San Carlo Borromeo: Catholic Reform and Ecclesiastical Politics in the Second Half of the Sixteenth Century [1988]. G. Alberigo, Karl Borromäus: Geistliche Sensibilität und pastorales Engagement (Katholisches Leben und Kirchenreform im Zeitalter der Glaubensspaltung, 55 [1995]). F. Buzzi and D. Zardin (eds.), Carlo Borromeo e l’Opera dellaGrande Reforma’ [1997]. R. Mols, SJ, in DHGE 12 (1953), cols. 486–534, s.v. ‘Charles Borromée’; C. M. de Certeau in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, 20 (1977), pp. 260–69, s.v. ‘Carlo Borromeo, santo’; R. Mols, SJ, in NCE (2nd edn.), 2 (2003), pp. 539–41, s.v. ‘Borromeo, Charles, St’.




This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 1990....x....   “”.