Borromeo, Carlo cardinal of the Roman Church and archbishop of Milan, was born of noble parents at the castle of Arona, on the banks of the Lago Maggiore, Oct. 2, 1538. His family was one of the most ancient in Italy, tracing its origin to the family of Anicius in ancient Rome. His mother was a sister of Pius IV. He studied at Milan and at Pavia, and at both was distinguished for personal virtue and for diligence in study. His youth was devoted, not to the ordinary pleasures of that age, but to religion and charitable exercises; and the great wealth at his command did not in the least affect his moral or religious character injuriously. Pius IV, his uncle, adopted him as a son, and made him archbishop of Milan in 1560. But, on the death of his brother Frederick, his relations, and even the pope himself, besought him to marry in order to preserve the line of the family, which seemed in danger of extinction. His mind, however, was made up; and, to escape farther importunity, he was privately ordained in 1565, and at once devoted himself to the reform of abuses in his diocese. The Council of Trent (Sess. 24:de ref. 7) having recommended the preparation of an authoritative Catechism, Pius intrusted the work to his nephew, who, associating with himself three eminent ecclesiastics, completed in 1566 the celebrated Catechismus Tridentinus, Catechismus Romanus, or Catechismus ad parochos. SEE CATECHISMS; SEE CREEDS. To carry out his plans of reform, he gave up every other benefice, abandoned his paternal property, and divided his diocesan revenues into three portions: one for the poor, another for the Church, and the third for himself, of the use of which he gave a ri:id account to his synod. In his palace he made a like reformation. In the enforcement of discipline, he held, at different periods, six provincial councils and eleven diocesan synods; and, to see that the regulations of these councils were enforced, he regularly visited in person the churches of his vast province. These reforms excited powerful resistance. The Humiliati (q.v.) induced a friar of the order, named Farina, to attempt the life of Borromeo. The assassin fired at the archbishop as he was at prayers before the altar, but the bullet only grazed the skin. The assassin and his two accomplices were put to death, and the order of the Humiliati was suppressed by Pius V. During the plague at Milan, 1576, he threw himself into the danger, giving service in every form to the bodies and souls of the dying, at the peril of his life. He died Nov. 3, 1584. On the whole, his life is singularly remarkable for purity in the midst of a corrupt and degraded Church. His talents, property, and life were entirely consecrated to the service of Chris tianity through the Church, whose interests were always to him more sacred than any earthly considerations. In 1610 he was canonized by Paul V. His works were published at Milan in 1747 by Jos. Ant. Saxius, containing his Instructions to Confessors, his Sermons, and the Acta
Ecclesice Mediolanensis (5 vols. fol.). The latter work was originally printed at Milan in 1599 (2 vols. fol.). In 1758 there was published at Augsburg, in two vols. fol., an edition of the Homilies, Discourses, and Sermons, together with the Noctes Vaticance, notes by Saxius, and a Life, translated into Latin from the Italian of Giussano. His life has been several times written: see Godeau, Vie de C. Borromeo (Paris, 1748, 2 vols. 12mo); Touron, Vie de St. Charles Borromee (Paris, 1761, 3 vols. 12mo); Sailer, Der heil. Karl Borromeo (Augsb. 1823); Giussano, Leben des heil. Karl Borromeo (Augsb. 1836, 3 vols.); Dieringer, Der heilige Karl Borromaus (Cologne, 1846).-Biog. Univ. v, 197; Butler, Lives of Saints, 10:366; Landon, Eccl. Dictionary, s.v.
In Germany an Association of St. Borromeo was founded in 1846 for promoting the circulation of Roman Catholic books. It counted, in 1857, 697 branch associations, and its receipts amounted to 51,000 thalers.