May 19: The feast of *Pope Saint Peter Celestine V*
Today, May 19, we celebrate the feast day of *Pope Saint Peter Celestine
V*, an example of profound humility.
Peter was born in Isernia, Italy, in 1215, the 11th of twelve children of humble, pious parents. His father died when he was very young, and his mother, a hard-working woman, raised her 12 children herself.
His mother, instructing the children in their daily prayers, would frequently ask, “Which one of you is going to become a saint?” Without exception, Peter would answer “Me, Mama! I’ll become a saint!”
Recognizing his piety and faith, Peter’s mother ensured that he was well educated, preparing him for a religious life. At age 17, Peter entered the Monastery, becoming a Benedictine monk receiving his surname, Celestine. Peter spent his days preaching and reading the Scriptures, attracting a large crowd who would come to him for spiritual guidance and counselling.
As many continued to flock to him, he founded the order of the Celestines. During this time, he studied for the priesthood and was ordained.
Following the death of Pope Nicholas IV, the cardinals convened a conclave to elect a new pope, but could not come to a decision. As the conclave stretched into its second year, Peter received a message from God, which he personally delivered to the cardinals. Upon hearing his message—that the Lord was not pleased with the delay in selecting a successor—the cardinals promptly elected Peter as the 192nd pope. Peter Celestine became Pope Celestine V, although reluctantly at the age of 84.
Because he was so humble and simple, everyone took advantage of him and soon matters were in great confusion. At last, the Saint decided that he had better give up his position as Pope. Feeling himself incapable of bearing the heavy burden, Celestine resigned on December 13, 1294, resumed the
cherished, simple life of a monk and spent the remainder of his life in acts of holy penance.
*St. Peter Celestine, pray for us*.
Lord our God, you are the crown of your saints and the glory of the lowly.
You called blessed Celestine to serve you humbly both as pope and hermit.
By his intercession may we follow the hard road that leads to life eternal. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.