St. Robert Bellarmine
Feast Day: September 17
Born: 1542 :: Died: 1621
Robert was born in Italy. As a boy, he was not interested in playing games, like most children his age were. He liked to spend his time repeating to his younger brothers and sisters the sermons he had heard.
He also liked to explain the lessons of the catechism to the little farm children of the neighborhood. Once he had made his first Holy Communion, he used to receive Jesus every Sunday.
His father wanted to make Robert famous, so he got his son to study many subjects including music and art. Whenever a song had words that were not nice, Robert would replace them with good ones of his own.
It was Robert's great desire to become a Jesuit priest, but his father had other plans for him. For a whole year, Robert pleaded with his father. At last, when he was eighteen, his father allowed him to join the Jesuits.
As a young Jesuit, he did very well in his studies and was sent to preach even before he became a priest. When one good woman first saw such a young man, not even a priest yet, going up into the pulpit to preach, she knelt down to pray.
She asked the Lord to help him not become frightened and stop in the middle. When he finished his sermon, she stayed kneeling. This time, however, she was thanking God for the wonderful sermon he gave.
St. Robert Bellarmine became a famous writer, preacher and teacher. He wrote thirty-one important books. He spent three hours every day in prayer and had a deep knowledge of sacred matters.
Yet even when he became a cardinal, he believed that catechism was so important, that he himself taught it to his household and to the people.
He said: "If you are wise, then know that you have been created for the glory of God and your own eternal salvation. This is your goal; this is the center of your life; this is the treasure of your heart."
Cardinal Bellarmine died on September 17, 1621.
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