Miniature Lives of the Saints – Saint Peter Celestine

portrait of Pope Saint Celestine V, 1700, by Giulio Cessare Bedeschini; Museo de l'Aquila, Italy; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

As a child Peter had visions of our Blessed Lady and of the angels and saints. They encouraged him in his prayer, and chided him when he fell into any fault. His mother, though only a poor widow, put him to school, feeling sure that he would one day be a saint. He made great progress in study, but still longed for the heavenly favours of his childhood, and at the age of twenty left his home in Apulia to live in a mountain solitude. Here he passed three years, assaulted by the evil spirits and beset with temptations of the flesh, but consoled by angels’ visits. After this, his seclusion was invaded by disciples, who refused to be sent away j and the rule of life which he gave them formed the foundation of the Celestine Order. Angels assisted in the church which Peter built; unseen bells rang peals of surpassing sweetness, and heavenly music filled the sanctuary, when he offered the Holy Sacrifice. Suddenly he found himself torn from his loved solitude by his election to the Papal throne. Resistance was of no avail. He took the name of Celestine, to remind him of the heaven he was leaving and for which he sighed, and was consecrated at Aquila. After a reign of four months Peter summoned the cardinals to his presence, and solemnly resigned his trust. So strange an act was regarded with suspicion; he was placed in confinement, and thus alone with God he joyfully awaited his death, which took place A.D. 1296.

“Whoso,” says the Imitation, “withdraweth himself from acquaintances and friends, to him will God draw near with His holy angels.”

To speak heart to heart with God you must love to be with Him alone; for he who delights in the society of the great will never hear His voice. – Saint Peter Celestine

Saint Peter, when Pope, built himself a boarded cell in his palace, and there continued his hermit’s life ; and when, lest his simplicity might be taken advantage of to distract the peace of the Church, he was put under guard, he said, “I desired nothing but a cell, and a cell they have given me.” There he enjoyed his former loving intimacy with the saints and angels, and sang the Divine praises almost continually. At length, on Whit-Sunday, he told his guards he should die within the week, and immediately fell ill. He received the last Sacraments; and the following Saturday, as he finished the concluding verse of Lauds, “Let every spirit bless the Lord!” he closed his eyes to this world and opened them to the vision of God.

I will lead her into the wilderness, and there I will speak to her heart. – Osee 2:14

MLA Citation

  • Henry Sebastian Bowden. “Saint Peter Celestine”. Miniature Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year, 1877. CatholicSaints.Info. 27 February 2015. Web. 27 February 2017. <>