ACI Prensa Staff, Feb 7, 2024 / 10:30 am
On Feb. 7, the Catholic Church remembers Blessed Pius IX, “Pius Nono,” the 255th pope. His pontificate is the second longest in history — a total of 31 years, seven months, and 22 days (June 16, 1846–Feb. 7, 1878). He was beatified together with Pope John XXIII (now canonized) on Sept. 3, 2000, by Pope John Paul II.
The future Pope Pius IX was born Giovanni Maria Battista Pellegrino Isidoro Mastai Ferretti in Senigallia, Italy — then part of the Papal States — on May 13, 1792. His parents were Don Gerolamo Mastai Ferretti, a member of a local noble and prestigious family, and Donna Caterina Solazzi, who had him baptized on the same day of his birth.
In 1809 he traveled to Rome to continue the studies he had begun in his native city. Even without a clear orientation toward the priesthood, he lived in an exemplary way, evidenced by some resolutions made in 1810 after a spiritual retreat when he spoke of his spiritual commitment “to fight against sin, to avoid any dangerous occasion, to study not for the ambition of knowledge but for the good of others, to abandon himself into the hands of God.”
The future pope stopped his studies in 1812 because of an illness and was exempted from military service. In 1815 he was accepted into the Pontifical Noble Guard but had to abandon the idea because of health problems. Ferretti suffered from epilepsy from a young age — a condition that eventually subsided and then completely disappeared, according to Ferretti himself, which he credited to the intercession of Our Lady of Loreto.