Wednesday, March 02, 2016

The Pope's Birthday

Pius XII was born on this day in 1876 ...

If he were alive today he would be the world's oldest living pope at 140 years old ...

He was an elegant little boy.

A handsome young man.

Then he died.

He died at Castel Gandolfo in 1958 at the age of 82.

Surrounded by his faithful Head of Household
Sister Pascalina Lehnert and
her housekeeper sisters.
(Demonstrating how women always played an imoportant role in the Church.)

Transfer of the body of PPXII to the Vatican.
Notice the papal tiara atop the hearse.

Interesting note: He had a 'delicate' stomach and dropped out of seminary for a bit until he received permission to live at home while attending seminary as an external student. A dispensation highly unusual in his day.  (This is true.)

I wonder when he will be beatified?

o o o

Bonus photos and a bit of trivia:

The Holy Father was very fond of modern technology.
In those days, they used what was called a 'party line'
- this was a more economic option instead of 'private' lines -
and the Pope enjoyed listening in on conversations 
without letting those speaking know - 
which is why he held the phone away from him,
so people wouldn't hear him breathing.  
Sometimes, for recreation, he dialed random numbers, 
just to listen to the people saying "Pronto!  Pronto!"  
Other times he'd just hang up
when they answered.

He cracked himself up and would laugh
so hard.

When anyone came in - he'd quickly go back to 
writing in his diary, as if nothing happened.
He was quite faithful to protocol and decorum
in the presence of others.

He loved birds.
He once said,
"Feeding the birds is a form of prayer."
He frequently visited the birds
on the peripheries of the Vatican Gardens
- when he wasn't watching the sun spin, that is.

Almost forgot to mention - he adored poodles.
Those shown here sport a 'lamb cut'.



  1. This is the best thing I've seen all day. Thanks for cheering me up. (Again)

  2. "He loved birds"

    I love them too. I am always happy to hear them singing so beautifully at 0300 in the am while I lay in bed. It makes me smile.
    I have two Parakeets whom I spoil rotten. They are adorable and always know when it's feeding time and start lifting up their little gate to their cage to remind me. ^^

    1. Oh Yaya: you are so lucky to live with little birds ! I can not walk by the birds for sale, in their little 'group home' cage at PetCo, without feeling so affected by their captivity and yearning to take them home with me: Surely, without great self-control, I am on track to becoming not only a crazy cat-lady but also a crazy bird person.
      What holds me back is the uncertainty of my situation: don't know about future living in an apt: I recall being in Barnes & Nobles one day, and chatting with people who were sponsoring an event to bring awareness of pet birds plight when owners had to give them away etc: so they were looking for homes for such birds.
      Really, it continually breaks my heart to see Our Lords creation, the physical as well as His creatures, all of them....suffer so.

  3. ahhh.....thanks for making me laugh out loud....needed this.

  4. Hmmm...he loved birds... I know someone who loves to feed birds. Thank God, the papacy is not in his future.

  5. Not sure what to make of this posting. Pius XII was the Pope in my very young years. A mysterious and remote man. Pictures in the newspaper showed him always in regal settings or being carried around on a throne being carried high in the air by Knights (servants). Exotic if not downright strange to American eyes. He is thought to be the last legitimately elected Pope by the Sedavacantists. Nice to see him laughing though. I hardly recognized him since all we ever saw was a serious ascetic who looked very unhappy.

    1. I'm just being ridiculous - he was Pope when I was in grade school and so esteemed - we knew he was a saint when he died. I recall the headlines as well as special news coverage because he was the 'Great' pope of WWII. I was thrilled when John the XXIII became Pope and learned then that it is a papacy we have and venerate - individuals fill the chair - and whoever holds that position continues the Petrine ministry into our times. That said - when Pius XII I was excited to find out who the new Pope would be.

    2. SB when Pius XII died, I was excited ...


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.