New Catholic Dictionary – Saint Robert Bellarmine

Saint Robert BellarmineArticle

Cardinal; confessor of the faith. Born in 1542 in Montepulciano, Italy; died in 1621 at Rome, Italy. The son of Vincenzo Bellarmine, a nobleman, and Cinthia Cervini, sister of Pope Marcellus II, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1560. He studied philosophy three years at the Roman College, taught humanities four years at Florence and Mondovi, and finished his theological course at Louvain, where he taught from 1570 to 1576 and became celebrated for his Latin sermons. In 1576 he occupied the chair of controversial theology in the Roman College, in 1592 was elected rector, in 1594 was appointed Provincial of Naples and in 1598 created cardinal. He defended the Apostolic See against the anti-clericals in Venice and against the political tenets of James I of England. He wrote an exhaustive apologetic answering the prevailing heresies of the day and, concerning the relation of Church and State, took a position based on principles now considered fundamentally democratic, that authority originates with God, but is vested in the people, who entrust it to fit rulers. He was the spiritual father of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, helped Saint Francis de Sales to obtain formal approbation of the Visitation Order, and opposed severe action in Galileo’s case. Some of his best known ascetical works are Ascent of the Mind to God (1615), and On the Seven Words of Christ (1618). Relics at the church of Saint Ignatius, Rome. Beatified on 13 May 1923; canonized on 29 June 1930. Feast, 17 September.

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Robert Bellarmine”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 11 August 2018. Web. 26 February 2021. <>