Today, September 17, is the feast of St. Robert Bellarmine, SJ, a Doctor of the Church and the second Jesuit in the Society’s history to become a cardinal.
Born in Montepulciano, Italy, on October 4, 1542, Bellarmine was the third of ten children. In 1560, he entered the Society of Jesus and would go on to nurture a passion for learning. Bellarmine learned Hebrew so that he could better study scripture and the Church Fathers. He was well known for his Latin homilies.
He would eventually go on to become the Jesuit provincial of Naples in 1594 and cardinal in 1598. During his time as cardinal he would play a large role in the Counter-Reformation. Bellarmine loved the Church and did all that he could to protect her in the wake of the Protestant-Reformation.
Bellarmine died on September 17, 1621. He was canonized in 1930 and was made a Doctor of the Church the following year for his work as a theologian.