St. Charles was born John Charles Marchioni on October 19, 1613. His family lived in Sezze, Italy, and was extremely pious. Because they lived in a rural area, Charles worked as a shepherd as a child, and didn’t receive much of an education. He could barely read or write, and when he joined the Franciscans as a lay brother, he served as a cook, porter, and gardener.
Charles was known for his holiness and his charity. He lived a simple life, seeking spiritual advice and working with victims of the plague. He wrote several mystical works, including “The Grandeurs of the Mercies of God,” his autobiography. He is said to have been called to the bedside of Pope Clement IX when he was dying for a blessing.
St. Charles died in Rome on January 6, 1670. He is buried in the Church of St. Francis. Pope John XXIII canonized him on April 12, 1959.