St. Gregory the Great was born in the mid-sixth century to a noble Roman family. His mother Silvia, who is also a saint, raised him with a strong faith. By age 30, Gregory held a position of political authority in Rome, but he chose to leave the administration to live as a monk.

After three years of monastic life, the pope called Gregory to become a deacon in Rome. He spent six years after that in Constantinople, returning to Rome in 586. Pope Pelagius II died in 589, and Gregory was chosen to replace him.

As pope, Gregory made several reforms to the liturgy and Church disciplines, and spread the Church’s influence throughout western Europe. He supported the Benedictines and sent missionaries to England, starting off the conversion of the nation. Gregory also began the tradition of the pope living as the “servant of the servants of God.” He stayed humble and never forgot his mission as a pastor of souls.

St. Gregory died in 604.