Wednesday, January 26, 2011


 I rememeber one of the first books I ever read when I was a minor seminarian, recently entered into the seminary. It was a dusty volume of Beauchesne-Thornton's biography of Pope Pius IX entitled Cross Upon Cross. I rescued it from the accumulated dust of the seminary library (and undoubtedly from years of oblivion) and began to devour the book (don't get me wrong. The food at the dining room may have been appalling compared to today's culinary standards in the seminary but it wasn't so bad as to make me actually finish off one dusty book). I've read and reread it many times throughout my eight-year stay in the Sacred Heart Seminary I've been able to memorize some of the lines I've encountered in the book. It was unfortunately lost when we renovated the library. I tried looking for the book, but I never found it again. Good thing I was able to salvage some other books which I also used to read time and again.
Pio Nono cuts a really interesting figure. Not only is he the longest-reigning pontiff in the whole history of the papacy, but I also believe that he is among the most misunderstood.
Pius' death mask
This is the picture which actually prompted this entry. I saw this photo while I was searching for another picture and it fascinated me. I never understood fully what people mean when they say "incorrupt". They say that when they opened his tomb more than a hundred years later at the church of San Lorenzo they found his body in a good condition. I'd say the Blessed's remains were perfectly mummified. It's interesting to note that his vestments are rather well-preserved. If you would look at the cadaver's wizened features and compare it with contemporary portraits of the last Pope-King, you could just be reminded of those words ritually uttered at any papal coronation before: Beatissime Pater, sic transit gloria mundi...Holy Father, thus passes the glory of the world!!!

Blessed Pius IX, pray for us!
The face of Bl. Pius covered with a silver mask

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