St. Gregory the Great
St. Gregory was born in 540 in Rome. His father was a senator. His mother is a saint, St. Celia. Gregory studied philosophy and while still young, became governor of Rome. When his father died, Gregory turned his large house into a monastery. For several years he lived as a good and holy monk. Then Pope Pelagius made him one of the seven deacons of Rome. When the pope died, Gregory was chosen to take his place. He did not want that honor at all. He was so holy and wise, however, that everyone knew he would be a good pope. Gregory even disguised himself and hid in a cave, but he was found and made pope anyway.
For fourteen years he ruled the Church. Even though he was always sick, Gregory was one of the greatest popes the Church has ever had. He wrote many books and was a wonderful preacher. He cared for people all over the world. In fact, he considered himself the servant of all. He was the first pope to use the title "servant of the servants of God." All the popes since have used this title.
St. Gregory took special, loving care of poor people and strangers. Every day he used to feed them a good dinner. He was also very sensitive to the injustices people suffered. Once, when he was still a monk, he saw some blond boys up for sale in the slave market of Rome. He asked where they were from and was told that they were from England. The saint felt a great desire to go to England to bring the love of Jesus to those pagans. When he became pope, one of the first things he did was to send some of his best monks to convert the English to Christ.
The last years of this holy pope's life were filled with great sufferings, yet he continued working for his beloved Church until the very end. St. Gregory died on March 12, 604.
Reflection: "I know from experience that most of the time when I am with the brethren I learn many things about the word of God that I could not learn all by myself; it is you who impart to me what I should teach."—St. Gregory the Great