The Sword of Saint Michael
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By Lillian Browne-Olf
The man who would be Pope Pius V was born Antony Ghislieri, on January 17, 1504, in the town of Bosco, Italy. Seventeen years later, he was professed a friar in the Order of Preachers, taking as his religious name Michele, in honor of St. Michael the Archangel. The passing of four decades brought him to another elevation in the hierarchy of God’s servants, to the place of the “Servant of the servants of God”: the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. Elected by the conclave of 1565–1566 (in which St. Charles Borromeo played a critical part), Michele Ghislieri became Pope Pius V and reigned as the Vicar of Christ for six tumultuous years in the history of both the Church and the world. His papacy encompassed the implementation of the Council of Trent; the Counter-Reformation against Luther and his works; the correction of the spirit of defection from the Faith rampant in the Netherlands, France, and England; the initiation of the missionary efforts to the New World; and the defense of Christendom in the Crusades, culminating in the Battle of Lepanto.
I know very well that I am dealing with men, not with angels. (Pope Saint Pius V)
Chronicling the life and times of Pope Saint Pius V in strong detail and with great enthusiasm, Lillian Browne-Olf’s The Sword of Saint Michael endures as an accessible biographical study of one of the greatest popes in Church history.
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Lillian Browne-Olf (b. 1880), an American convert to the Catholic faith, was author of numerous volumes of papal history and biography, including Pius XI: Apostle of Peace (1938) and Their Name Is Pius: Portraits of Five Great Modern Popes (1941), as well as the editor (with John Hayes Holmes) of The Grail of Life: An Anthology of Heroic Death and Immortal Life (1919).