Pope Celestine V

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Pope Saint Celestine V, born Pietro Angelerio (according to some sources Angelario, Angelieri, Angelliero, or Angeleri), also known as Pietro da Morrone (1215 – 19 May, 1296) was elected pope in the year 1294, by the Papal election, 1292–1294, the last non-conclave in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. Celestine V is recognized by the Church as a saint. No subsequent Pope has taken the name "Celestine".

Contents

Birth

According to a tradition, he was born in the village of Sant'Angelo Limosano, in Molise, the son of Angelo Angelerio and Maria Leone. Recently, the towns of Isernia and Sant'Angelo in Grotte, have been mentioned as his possible birthplaces.

Early life

After his father's death he started to work in the fields. His mother Maria was a key figure in Pietro's spiritual development: she imagined a different future for her deeply beloved son than just becoming a farmer or a shepherd. From the time he was a child, he showed great intelligence, and love for his fellow beings. He became a Benedictine monk at Faifoli in the diocese of Benevento when he was seventeen. He showed an extraordinary disposition toward asceticism and solitude, and in 1239 retired to a solitary cavern on the mountain Morrone, whence his name. Five years later he left this retreat, and betook himself, with two companions, to a similar cave on the Mountain of Maiella in the Abruzzi region of south Italy, where he lived as strictly as was possible according to the example of St. John the Baptist. Terrible accounts are given of the severity of his penitential practices. While living in this manner he founded, in 1244, the order subsequently called after him, the Celestines.

Papacy

The cardinals assembled at Perugia after the death of Pope Nicholas IV (1288–92) in April 1292. Angelerio, by now well known to the cardinals as a Benedictine hermit, sent the cardinals a letter warning them that divine vengeance would fall upon them if they did not quickly elect a Pope. Latino Malabranca, the aged and ill dean of the College of Cardinals cried out, "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, I elect brother Pietro di Morrone." The cardinals promptly ratified Malabranca's desperate decision. When sent for, Pietro Angelerio of Morrone obstinately refused to accept the Papacy, and even, as Petrarch says, attempted flight, until he was at length persuaded by a deputation of cardinals accompanied by the Kings of Naples and Hungary. Elected July 5, 1294, he was crowned at S. Maria di Collemaggio in the city of Aquila (now called L'Aquila) in the Abruzzi, August 29, taking the name of Celestine V.

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