Roman Catholic Saint, Roman Catholic Pope. Born Giuseppe Sarto, he was elected Pope Pius X on the seventh ballot of a contentious conclave on August 4, 1903. The first pope in three centuries to spring from a peasant, rather than an aristocratic background, he was also the first pope in generations to have experience as an ordinary parish priest. Pius X lowered the age for First Holy Communion to seven from 13 and encouraged adults to receive the Sacrament as frequently as possible. He also showed great interest in reforming priestly training and ecclesiastical music. He is best known, however, for his campaign against what he termed "Modernism," or tendencies toward theological liberalism within the Church and without. He promulgated the "Syllabus of Errors" and opposed efforts by the French state to oppress and harass the Church. He made many enemies, but few questioned his personal holiness, and many believe his death was hastened by his disappointment at failing to prevent the outbreak of World War I. He was the first pope in nearly four centuries to achieve canonization as a saint. Upon his canonization in 1954, Pius' body was removed from the crypt beneath the high altar at St. Peter's Basilica and was placed in a glass sarcophagus in the nave. A death mask covers his face and gloves cover his hands.
Bio by: John Barnes
S. PIUS X P.M.