St Erkenwald and St Pius V

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Bishop of London. This seventh century saint was London's most important religious figure for many centuries. His diocese extended over Essex and Middlesex. Reputed to be of royal blood, he founded the monasteries of Chertsey in Surrey and Barking in Essex. He ruled Chertsey while his sister, St Ethleburga was abbess of Barking.

and St Pius V

During his lifetime he had a great reputation for holiness. He helped to bring about reconciliation between Wilfred and Theodore. He died at Barking on this day in 693 and was buried in St Paul's Cathedral.

His relics survived the fire of 1087. His shrine become more ornate each century as it was endowed by London canons and merchants. It was a popular place of pilgrimage until it was destroyed during the Reformation.

Pope. Anthony Ghislieri was born in 1504 in Pieddmont, Itay. He joined the Dominicans in 1518, was ordained in 1540 and then taught philosophy and theology for 16 years before becoming bishop of Suiri in 1556. He was made a cardinal in 1557 and elected Pope in 1565.

His first task was to begin implementing the sweeping reforms called for by the Council. He ordered the founding of seminaries and published a new missal, a new breviary, and a new catechism as well as establishing the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) classes for the young.

Pius built hospitals, provided food for the hungry and gave money customarily used for the papal banquets to poor Roman converts. His decision to keep wearing his Dominican habit led to the custom of the pope wearing a white cassock.

In striving to reform both Church and state, Pius encountered strong opposition from England's Queen Elizabeth and the Roman Emperor Maximilian II. Problems in France and in the Netherlands also hindered Pius's hopes for a Europe united against the Ottoman Turks.

Only at the last minute was he able to organize a fleet which won a decisive victory in the Gulf of Lepanto, off Greece, on October 7, 1571.

Pius spent long hours in prayer, fasted rigorously, deprived himself of many customary papal luxuries and faithfully observed the Dominican Rule. He died in 1572 and was canonised in 1712.

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