A Novena to Saint Charles Borromeo

For love of God and holy fear

Saint Charles Borromeo with Saints Anthony of Padua and Francis of Paola
Saint Charles Borromeo with Saints Anthony of Padua (l) and Francis of Paola (r). Mondadori Portfolio/Hulton Fine Art Collection/Getty Images

St. Charles Borromeo (1538-84) was the cardinal-archbishop of Milan during the Counter-Reformation. His zeal for the truth of the Catholic Faith was matched by his humility and his personal care for the victims of the plague in Milan in 1576-77.

In this novena to St. Charles Borromeo, we recall his zeal, the virtues of his life, and his support for Christian education, and we ask him to pray for us, that we may imitate those virtues.

Novena to Saint Charles Borromeo

O glorious St. Charles, the father of the clergy, and the perfect model of holy prelates! You are that good pastor, who, like your divine Master, gave up your life for your flock, if not by death, at least by the numerous sacrifices of your painful mission. Your sanctified life on earth was a spur to the most fervent, your exemplary penance was a reproach to the slothful, and your untiring zeal was the support of the Church.

O great Prelate, since the glory of God and the salvation of souls are the only objects of solicitude to the blessed in heaven, vouchsafe to intercede for me now, and to offer up for the intention of this novena, those fervent prayers which were so successful while you were on earth.

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You are, O great St. Charles, among all the Saints of God, one in whose intercession I should most confide, because you were chosen by God to promote the interests of religion, by promoting the Christian education of youth. You were, like Jesus Christ himself, always accessible to little ones; for whom you broke the bread of the word of God, and procured for them also the blessings of a Christian Education. To you, then, I have recourse with confidence, beseeching you to obtain for me the grace to profit of the advantages I enjoy, and for which I am so considerably indebted to your zeal. Preserve me by your prayers from the dangers of the world; obtain that my heart may be impressed with a lively horror of sin; a deep sense of my duty as a Christian; a sincere contempt for the opinion and false maxims of the world; an ardent love for God, and that holy fear which is the beginning of wisdom.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy. Christ have mercy.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Christ hear us. Christ graciously hear us.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

Queen of Apostles, pray for us.

St. Charles, pray for us.

St. Charles, imitator of Christ,

St. Charles, faithful follower of Christ crucified,

St. Charles, replenished with the spirit of the Apostles,

St. Charles, consumed with zeal for the glory of God,

St. Charles, the light and support of the Church,

St. Charles, Father and Guide of the Clergy,

St. Charles, most desirous of the salvation of souls,

St. Charles, a model of humility and penance,

St. Charles, most zealous, for the instruction of youth, pray for us.

Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Lord.

V. Pray for us, O glorious St. Charles.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

Preserve Your Church, O Lord, under the continual protection of Your glorious Confessor and Bishop, St. Charles, that as he was eminent for the discharge of his pastoral duties, so his prayers may make us zealous in the love of Your holy name: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.