About Our Stained Glass Windows
Saint Pius X
Canonized May 29, 1954
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In 1903, a short, stocky man begged his fellow Cardinals not to elect him to the chair of Peter because, as he put it: “I am not worthy”. Joseph Cardinal Sarto had come from Venice to take part in the election of a successor to Leo XIII, but with a return ticket in his pocket; in fact, he had to borrow the train fare from a Jewish friend. As the balloting for him became stronger, his face grew troubled. There were tears in his eyes and his voice trembled as he pleaded with fellow Cardinals not to elect him Pope.
Joseph Sarto, the son of poor Italian farm folk, was born on June 2, 1835, in Riese, a village near Venice. His father, Giovanni Sarto, owned a small strip of land and a cow, but had to work part-time as caretaker of the village hall to provide for his familty of eight children. Joseph was ordained a priest when he was only twenty-three years old, and for the next seventeen years, he labored as a parish priest. Consecrated Bishop of Mantua, he restored holiness to that diocese, and then in 1893 he was created Cardinal and named the Patriarch of Venice. In 1903 he became the successor of the Prince of the Apostles. Saint Pius X died on August 20, 1914. His last will and testament had stated: “I was born poor, I have lived poor, and I wish to die poor”.
By special permission, beatification of Pius X took place only thirty-seven years after his death. Normally no one can be proclaimed Blessed until he has been dead for at least fifty years.
Saint Pius X is known as the Pope of the Eucharist. The Holy Father in 1954, Pius XII, knew the Saint personally. Our Cardinal Stritch was a student in Rome during his reign. “That which is singularly characteristic of this Pontiff“, Pope Pius XII declared, “is to have been Pope of the Eucharist in our time. If we were to remain silent on this point, ranks of yesterday’s and today’s children would rise up to sing Hosanna to him who knew how to throw down age-old barriers which kept them far from their Friend in the Tabernacle. If we keep silent, the very altars of the Blessed Sacrament themselves would speak to tell of the exuberant flourishing sanctity which through the work of this Pontiff of the Eucharist, has flowered in numberless souls for whom frequent and daily communion is now the fundamental norm of Christian perfection“.
At the opening of his Pontificate, he declared that he would try to “restore all things in Christ”. In the window this promise is written on the scroll he holds in his left hand. The Pope of the Eucharist by restoring frequent Communion has stamped his life forever on the hearts of the Christian world. He who knew himself not worthy to be Pope, was worthy to be numbered among the glorious saints of God.
Saint Pius X, help us to love our Eucharistic Christ.