St. Robert Bellarmine was born on Oct. 4, 1542 in Montepulciano. He was the nephew of Pope Marcellus II, and as a young man, he was educated by Jesuits. In 1560, Robert became a Jesuit, and studied and taught in Rome until 1569.
He was ordained a priest in Belgium, and large crowds of Catholics and Protestants came to hear him speak. In 1576, he came back to Italy, and began teaching about theological controversies. His teachings were eventually collected into one body of writing, “Disputations,” which is now a classic work of Catholic apologetics. He also contributed to the Latin text of the Bible that was compiled after the Council of Trent.
Robert was made a cardinal in 1599, and advised Pope Clement VIII. At the time, he was considered the most educated man in the Catholic Church. Although he was considered for pope in two successive elections, he never wanted the position, and was never selected.
Robert was close friends with Galileo Galilei, and tried to negotiate peace between him and the Vatican. He retired in 1621 due to health problems. He compiled his thoughts on the end of his life in a book called “The Art of Dying Well.”
St. Robert died on Sept. 17, 1621, and was canonized in 1931. He is now a Doctor of the Church.