What’s not to love about St. Pius X? We love him for so many things, especially his clarity in preaching on the Blessed Mother, the emphasis on the Blessed Sacrament, especially as “the shortest and safest path to Heaven“, and his clarity against the modernists we still fight today. But he was so much more! We’ve collected some facts about his life that you might find surprising.
Among other things, a lot of the criticism levied against Pope Francis, such as making accommodation for the homeless, dining with the ordinary people, or wandering off to talk to the street people in Rome, were in fact activities started by Pius X! Read on and be surprised that this staunch defender of the faith, and true fatherly guide, was very much an ordinary guy who shunned many of the trappings of elitism appurtenant to the office of Pope.
1. His parents were Polish.
Pope Pius X was born in Italy to parents that had immigrated to Italy after the Prussian occupation. They were granted political asylum. Jan Krawiec, from Wielkopolska, was a tailor, and in order to blend in to Italy, changed his name to Giovanni Battista Sarto. Sarto means tailor in Italy, so Giuseppe chose the name because it represented what he was. Years later, he and his wife gave birth to Giuseppe, who we now know as Pope Pius X.
His father died when he was very young however, and his mother had to raise him and his sisters and brothers with her sewing and farming. They were poor.
2. He opened the Vatican to refugees and homeless.
Some time ago, there was a moderate scandal when Pope Francis decided to provide space for local homeless people to take refuge in the Vatican. Over a hundred years ago, after a great earthquake hit Italy, in Messina, Pius opened the Apostolic palace for the refugees and homeless to take harbor therein.