One-Hundredth Anniversary of St. Pius X’s Death

Source: FSSPX News

On August 20, 1914, Pope St. Pius X passed away. As the first battles of the terrible war that was to set Europe and the world on fire were being fought, he was deeply affected, and his strength rapidly declined.

As the dangers grew, he buried himself in prayer and offered himself as a victim. His biographer quotes the testimony of those closest to him:

“Day and night, he battled with God, harassing Him with his prayers. Day and night, he repeated: ‘I offer my miserable life as a holocaust to stop the massacre of my children.’ The holy old man was consumed with grief, his eyes beheld the avalanche of iron and fire, and he would murmur: ‘I suffer for those falling on the battle field… Ah! This war!... This war, I feel that it will be the death of me.’ And he would weep bitterly, but the strength of the saints was in him, along with a heroic and total resignation to God’s will.”[1]

He had to take to his bed after the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, only to pass away from exhaustion a few days later. On the 19th, he received the Last Rites while murmuring, “I place myself in God’s hands.” After a night of peaceful agony, he fell asleep in the small hours of the morning of August 20th, feast of St. Bernard, after embracing his crucifix. It was 1:15 in the morning and his last words, spoken in the Venetian dialect, were an act of confidence and abandon: “Gesu, Giuseppe e Maria, vi dono il cuore de l’anima mia!” (Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give you the heart of my soul!)[2]

His will was opened: “Born poor, I have lived poor and I am sure to die very poor…” The homage rendered to the extraordinary figure of this pope was great, even in the farthest ranks of the Church. The periodical of Jean Jaurès – L’Humanité – told of his death in the most exact terms:

“The pope is dead. We must say he was a great Pope. His politics were very simple; they consisted in restoring the values of the faith with apostolic firmness. He was able to carry out these politics with authority, thanks to the simplicity of his soul and the sincerity of his virtues that admit of no doubt. However we may judge him, we must say that Pius X was a great pope.”[3]

A great pope whom the Church would place on the altars forty years later. A holy pope whose pontificate was entirely consecrated to restoring all things in Jesus Christ, Omnia instaurare in Christo.

Read also:
Tribute to Saint Pius X on the sixtieth anniversary of his canonization

[1] Jérôme Dal-Gal, Pie X, Editions Saint-Paul, Pari, 1953, p. 472.
[2] Yves Chiron, Saint Pie X réformateur de l’Eglise, Publications du Courrier de Rome, 1999, p. 340.
[3] Quoted by Dal-Gal, op. cit., p. 477.