St. Robert Bellarmine does not have the pizzazz of some of the saintly favorites. He is no Francis of Assisi, or St. Anthony. His saint story comes with none of the charming antedotes of some of the more popular saints but a careful look at the man invites devotion.
Raised in Tuscany, Robert was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1570. He saw a need to teach Church history and the life and teachings of early Church fathers. He developed a defense against the Protestant reformers that involved organizing Church doctrine.
Eventually this systematization became a three-volume work, “Disputations on the Controversies of the Christian Faith.”
While this might not sound scintillating now, at the time he incurred the wrath of kings, as well as Pope Sixtus V.
Despite his ability to annoy the mighty of his time he was made a cardinal by Pope Clement VIII.
His personal life was saintly. Similar to Pope Francis, he rejected all the perks of his office. He lived an austere life, giving away even his wall hangings to the poor.
One of the more interesting stories of the saint involved his admonition of his friend, Galileo, warning him to not put his theories before they're proven.
Bellarmine caused enough controversy to delay his canonization until 1930 by Pope Pius IX who named him a doctor of the church.
He is the patron saint of catechists and catechumens. His feast day is September 17.