Pope Saint Celestine V
Born in Isernia, Italy, in 1215, Peter was the eleventh of twelve children of humble, pious parents. His father died when he was very young. When his mother would ask, “Which one of you is going to become a saint?” little Peter would answer “Me, Mama! I’ll become a saint!”.
He became a Benedictine at the age of 17 and at the age of 20, he became a hermit and spent his days praying and reading the Holy Bible. He left his hermitage to study for the priesthood and was ordained in Rome. He then became a Benedictine monk and founded an order. In 1274, he received papal approval of his order, which he called the Celestines.
After the death of Nicholas IV, a conclave which lasted more than two years elected him pope on July 5, 1294. He became known as Celestine V. On December 13, 1294, feeling overwhelmed by the position and his limited abilities in handling them, only five months after receiving the tiara, he resigned and resumed the cherished, simple life of a monk. How humbling this must have been for him! He died on May 19, 1296 and was buried in the church of Saint Agatha, Ferentino, Italy.
Pope St. Celestine is the patron saint of Aquila, Italy, and of bookbinders.