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Saint of the Day for 07 July: Blessed Benedict XI

A Pope of peace, justice and mercy

First name

Niccolò di Bocassio


c. 1240, Treviso


7 July 1304, Perugia


7 July


2004 edition


24 April 1736, Rome, Pope Clement XII


O God, who hast given to thy people Blessed Benedict XI Pope, with his help make us strong and persevering in the faith, to collaborate assiduously in the unity of the Church. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who is God, and lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Saint and Mission

Blessed Benedict XI was an important pontiff who played a significant role in the mission of the Catholic Church. His commitment to peace and social justice was admirable and he demonstrated a deep love for humanity.

During his pontificate, Blessed Benedict XI distinguished himself by his desire to resolve conflicts and promote harmony between nations. He devoted his efforts to finding diplomatic solutions to end wars and tensions, demonstrating great wisdom and patience.

Furthermore, Blessed Benedict XI supported the mission of the Church in spreading Christian values and love for God. He promoted evangelisation and encouraged the spiritual formation of the faithful, recognising the importance of a faith rooted in truth and compassion.

His life and work are an example of dedication and service to others. Blessed Benedict XI demonstrated a deep commitment to promoting peace, justice and faith, leaving a lasting legacy for the Catholic Church and the whole world.

The Saint and Mercy

Blessed Benedict XI was a pontiff who embodied the value of mercy in his life and ministry. He demonstrated a compassionate heart and a deep concern for the spiritual and material well-being of people.

During his pontificate, Blessed Benedict XI strove to spread divine mercy through the offering of forgiveness and reconciliation. He encouraged the practice of the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist, inviting the faithful to experience the grace of God’s forgiveness and to live in the joy of reconciliation.

His compassion also extended to the poor and marginalised. Blessed Benedict XI dedicated himself to works of charity and was concerned about supporting the needy. He advocated the importance of combating social injustice and promoting human dignity in all its forms.

The figure of Blessed Benedict XI reminds us that mercy is a central pillar of the Christian faith. He invites us to follow his example, opening our hearts to compassion, forgiveness and generosity towards others. His witness continues to inspire and remind us of the importance of living mercy in our daily lives.


Niccolò di Bocassio was probably born in 1240 in Treviso to a very modest family; but his uncle, a priest at the church of S. Andrea in his native city, may have influenced his later choices. He seems to have entered the Dominican Order in 1257, where he acquired the normal culture of the members of the Order, later completing his theological studies and becoming a lector, i.e. theology teacher, in the convent schools of Venice and Genoa, without severing his ties with his city (as proven by his mention in Treviso wills of those years). Of his teaching activities only a Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew has survived, published in 1603.

In 1286, he was elected provincial of Lombardy, the most powerful and prestigious of the Dominican provinces and, ten years later, in 1296, Minister General of the Preachers. These were the difficult years following the abdication of Celestine V and the election of Boniface VIII. When, in 1297, the open conflict broke out between Pope Caetani and the Colonna cardinals, who contested his election, the Dominican general came out clearly in favour of Boniface, assuring him of the loyalty of his Order. He was chosen by the pope, together with the Franciscan general, to negotiate peace between the kings of France and England, who had been at war for years. The mission was successful and a truce was concluded in 1298.

His personal loyalty and diplomatic skills earned him the appointment as cardinal-deacon of S. Sabina (1298) and, in 1300, promotion to cardinal-bishop of Ostia and Velletri, with the consequent function as dean of the Sacred College. In 1301, Boniface chose him as legate in Hungary, where Caetani favoured the election of Caribert of Anjou as king; but this time he was unsuccessful and the Hungarians ratified the choice, already made on his arrival, in favour of Wenceslas of Bohemia.

Back in Italy, Nicholas was in Anagni in September 1303, at the time of the attempt on Boniface, but does not seem to have exposed himself in any way. Dying shortly after Boniface, the Dominican general was elected pope on 22 October 1303 with the name Benedict XI, in homage to Benedict Caetani/Boniface VIII.

His election, rather than rewarding special merits, stood as…


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