Pope Pius X was the first pope since Pius V to be canonized. At his birth he was given the name Giuseppe Melchiore Sarto. He was born on June 2nd, 1835 and he served as pope from 1903 to 1914.
Giuseppe was born in a poor family in the town of Riese, which now belongs to Italy. His father was the village postman. Giuseppe was the second child in this family of ten children. Although his parents were poor they valued education. To go to school he had to walk six kilometers each day. Imagine our children, doing this today!
Dear Giuseppe studied latin with his village priest and he himself was ordained a priest in the year 1858. He was then 20 years old. Since the parish priest of Tombolo was always ill, Giuseppe carried out most of his functions. In the year 1867 he was named archpriest of Salzano. He found the church here in big need of restoration, and the hospital needed an expansion, the sooner the better.
He restored the church and expanded the hospital partly with his own money, labor and begging.
He also worked with the sick during the cholera plague in Italy during the 1870s.
When he became chancellor of the Diocese of Treviso he made it possible that public schools receive religious instruction. He was also a canon of the cathedral, spiritual director and rector of the Treviso seminary and examiner of the clergy.
He saw to it that the rural and urban youth got the opportunity to attend catholic schools.
When he became Pope in 1903 he took the name Pius X. He made a many reforms of which the most important was to publish the first Code of Canon Law. This work collected the laws of the Church into one volume for the first time.
Pope Pius X was a pastoral pope and he was very devoted to Mary. In his encyclical Ad Diem Illum he expressed his desire to renew all things in Christ, through Mary. He fervently believed there was no surer or more direct road to grow spiritually and become one with our Lord than by our Virgin Mary.
Guiseppe, like Leo XII promoted Thomas Aquinas philosophies as the principal method to be taught in Catholic Institutions. He viewed modernism as an import of secular errors who affect three areas of our Roman Catholic Belief: Theology, Philosophy and Dogma. That's why he defended our Catholic Faith against popular modern views such as indifferentism and relativism.
Our Pope was a man with a strong sense of compassion, benevolence and poverty.
When the Messina earthquake hit Italy in 1908, he filled the Apostolic Palace with refugees. He did this long before the Italian government began to act. He never accepted any favors for his family. His three sisters lived together close to poverty in Rome, his brother remained working in the postoffice and his favorite nephew kept working as a village priest.
He often reminded himself of his humble origins: ” I was born poor, I have lived poor, and I wish to die poor.”
He was considered a holy person by many people. This explains why public veneration of our Pope Pius X began so soon after his death.
The Vatican began an early process of beatification due to numerous petitions of the faithful.