Blessed Pope Urban V was born Guillaume de Grimoard in 1310. At Avignon, he studied canon law and theology, becoming a Benedictine monk. In 1352, he was made abbot of his monastery. He also served as a papal diplomat and ambassador, and a bishop around Italy and throughout Europe. 

In 1362, Urban was elected pope, even though he was not a cardinal. He was chosen for his peacekeeping efforts between French and Italian kings, his work in founding universities, and his decision to return the papacy to Rome. He spent many years in Avignon as pope, but worked to end the papal exile. 

When war broke out between England and France, Pope Urban was forced to return to Avignon to try and broker peace. He died on the way, on Dec. 19, 1370, and his body was buried there, and then transferred to Marseille, according to his own wishes. Pope Urban’s tomb is the site of many miracles. 

Blessed Pope Urban V is known for his Benedictine spirit. He wore his monk’s habit as Pope, and championed virtue and honesty. 


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