Gregorio Giovanni Gasparo Barbarigo was born at Venice in Italy. His father was a Venetian Senator (a politician). Gregory received a good education, studied at the University of Padua, in Italy and became a Civil and canon lawyer.
While still in his twenties, he was chosen by the officials of Venice to represent them in Munster, Germany, at an important event. Leaders were meeting to sign the Treaty of Westphalia on October 24, 1648. This treaty (peace agreement) would bring to an end the Thirty Year War being fought in Germany. It involved local, Swedish and French troops and was caused by a Catholic-Protestant misunderstanding.
At Munster, Blessed Gregory met the pope's representative archbishop Fabio Chigi. This man later became Pope Alexander VII. Archbishop Fabio realized how good and holy Father Gregory was. He made him the bishop of Bergamo, Italy. In 1660, Pope Alexander VII called Bishop Gregory to Rome again and this time he made appointed him as cardinal of Padua.
Blessed Gregory spent the rest of his life in Padua, a city already made famous by St. Anthony. Cardinal Barbarigo lived a plain, self-sacrificing life. He gave large sums of money for charitable needs. He kept his door open and was always available when people were in trouble.
He started an excellent college and seminary for the training of men to be priests. He gave the seminary a first-class library with many books by the early Church fathers and books about Sacred Scripture. He even set up a printing press in the seminary.
As Cardinal, Gregory had the unusual task of attending four conclaves. He helped to elect Pope Clement IX in 1667, Pope Innocent XI in 1676, Pope Alexander VIII in 1689 and Pope Innocent XII in 1691. Blessed Gregory Barbarigo died on June 15, 1697, at the age of seventy-two and is buried in the cathedral of Padua.