This is a papal shoe belonging to and worn by Saint Pius V. The 2nd class relic is contained in an ornate case with the Pope’s photo atop and an inscription, in Latin, Calceamentum S. PII PP. V. CONF.
The inscription indicates this is a shoe (Calceamentum) belonging to Pope Saint Pius V. Because of his canonization, it is a 2nd class relic.
This particular shoe appears to be an indoor shoe, a slipper because of its softer, velvet fabric. A white cross adorns the front of the shoe and a gold braid tie.
The back of the case is featured here to show the unbroken wax seal indicating its authenticity.
Papal shoes varied depending upon what a pope was doing. He wore red leather outdoor shoes. They should not be confused with the indoor papal slippers. (Papal Artifacts has a slipper belonging to and worn by Pope Pius XII.)
Before 1969, the pope wore episcopal sandals during the Mass and the color of the sandals matched the various liturgical colors of the vestments. Outdoor shoes were made of plain red Morocco leather and also had a wide cross in gold braid. Various modern popes added and eliminated decorations on their shoes according to their own personal tastes.
Popes also have their own personal cobblers in Rome.
The red shoes are one of the few remnants, along with the camauro, papal mozzetta and tabarro that are of the former red color of papal garments.
Pope Francis has dispensed with red shoes!
One of the Most Historic Items in the Papal Artifacts’ Collection
A Brevis Signed by St. Pius X
About the Brevis Featured Above:
Of all the items I have in the Collection, and it’s quite massive, there are only a handful of items that really have an historical role–in other words the item has played an important role in our history. And this item is the most significant item that I own, historically. It is a parchment that was actually signed by Pope St. Pius V. (He died on May 1, 1572 and was canonized on May 22, 1712, by Pope Clement XI.)
Prior to the recent canonizations of John XXIII & John Paul II, Pius V was one of the last two popes, along with Pius X, to be canonized a saint. His time frame was the 1560s. And this item is referred to as a ‘breve’. That’s a ‘brief’. And it’s a brief letter to the Senate of Milan asking them to help support the bishop of Milan, Charles Borromeo, the greatest saint of the Counter Reformation, to suppress a religious order called the “Humiliati.”
This significant religious order was founded in Italy in the 12th century and became corrupt. Pope St. Pius V suppressed it in 1667.
The Humiliati began about the year 1300 and became quite large and quite corrupt. And so in the nature of the Counter Reformation, the Catholic Reformation, Pius V wanted to do away with the corruption, and one way to do that, in some instances, was to suppress an order.
The Humiliati was huge at the time. And they were headquartered in Milan, and so to get the support from the Senate of Milan to help the Cardinal-Archbishop, Charles Borromeo, to suppress the order was quite significant.
So this document is actually mentioned in some biographies of Pius V and in some of Charles Borromeo. It became quite significant, a huge instrument in regards to the suppression of the religious order.
You can see Charles Borromeo’s name written on it as well as Pius V’s signature. Obviously, he would have had a calligrapher write the actual document, and then he would have signed it, to seal it.
In fact, all the popes and all the cardinals then would have had professional calligraphers. So when we look at some of these old documents we see the incredibly fancy writing, and obviously these people knew how to do this–because they didn’t have printing presses, or at least not commonly. And the earlier popes certainly didn’t have printing presses. So in some of the earlier documents we see the beauty of them, and then we see the pope signs it in his own hand afterwards: “Pius PP V.” That “PP” is there once again.
Another point to mention about the suppression of a religious order is that after this was in place, and after the senate of Milan started to suppress them, the brothers of the Humiliati got so upset at Charles Borromeo that one of the members actually shot him. They tried to kill him. (He died on Nov. 3, 1584 and was canonized Nov 1, 1610). He was hardly wounded at all, but the mere fact, again, that it was such a highly tense moment in time that they were actually trying to kill the bishop that was suppressing them gives us a window into what was going on in the world during the Counter Reformation, and it makes this document a very interesting piece.
A brevis is a brief document written on vellum.
This is one of the most historic documents in the collection. It was signed by Pope Pius V and dated June 20th, 1567. —Father Richard Kunst
St. Pius V, pray for us!
Translation of the Document:
We are grateful to Professor John Adams for his generosity in translating this brevis.
P I V S P P V
1 Dilecti filii, sal(ut)em et Ap(osto)licam ben(edictionem). Superioribus diebus quasdam nostras sub plumbo confictas l(itte)ras pro reformationis Ordinis Fratrum Humilitatorum ad dilectum filium n(ost)rum Carolum
2 Cardinalem Borromeum eiusdem ordinis Protectorem misimus, ei(que) negotium executionis dedimus. Quar(e) cupientes id ad optatum finem perduci, vos summo fraternital(is) charitatis affectu
3 hortamur in Domino, a vobisque maior(e) quo possumus studio enixi petimus, ut ipsi Cardinali, vel ei quem is huic muneri suo nomine preposuerit, ad ea exequenda quae ad ipsorum
4 Fratrum Humiliator(um) reformationem pertinent in omnibus status Mediolani locis, prout fueritis ab eo requisiti, rejectis quibusvis molestis interpellatoribus, omnem favorem et auxilium
5 opportunum prestare velitis. quod vos pro v(est)ra in Deum eiusque sanctam religionem pietat(e) et solita erga Nos et sedem ap(osto)licam observantia, ac devotion(e) libenter facturos confidimus.
6 Dat- Romae apud Sanctum Petru(m) sub Annulo Piscatoris die xx iunii M . d . LXVII . Pont(ificatus) N(ost)ri Anno Secundo.
7 Pius PP V
8 [signature of the secretary: Cae. Glorierius (Caesare Giorieri)]
“Beloved sons, greeting and Apostolic Benediction! Previously we sent a letter with a lead bulla affixed for the reformation of the Order of the Humiliati Brothers to our beloved son, Cardinal (Carlo) Borromeo, the Protector of the same Order, and we assigned him the the business of carrying it out. Therefore, wishing this to be carried forward to its desired end, We exhort you in the Lord with the highest degree of fraternal charity, and we beseech you with even greater zeal as we can to strive that to that same Cardinal (or to him to whom he shall assign the task in his own name) to carry out those things which are relevant to the reformation of the Brothers Humiliati, in all localities in the State of Milan, with all ill-intentioned interferers rejected, and that you be pleased to show (him) every favor and opportune assistance. We trust that you will gladly do this in consideration of your piety toward God and his holy religion, and your accustomed obedience to Us and the Holy See.
Given at Rome at St. Peter’s, under the (seal of the) Fisherman’s Ring, June 20, 1567, in the second year of Our Pontificate.
Pius V, Pope
Rediscovering A Beautiful, Ancient Prayer
The Pius V Connection
October is the month of the rosary, but there is good reason to focus on the rosary in the month of April as well.
The last day of April is the feast day of St. Pius V, A Dominican pope who was very much devoted to the rosary and was the eventual cause for the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7th, and the patronal feast of our diocese.
The rosary is perhaps the most common of the Catholic devotional prayers. Up until recently it consisted of 15 decades of “Hail Marys” with each decade proceeded by the Lord’s Prayer and followed by a doxology, accompanied by a meditation upon the life of Christ called a mystery. A few years back Pope John Paul the Great introduced five more mysteries, making the complete rosary twenty decades. This is the first substantial change to the rosary in nearly 500 years.
When the whole rosary is prayed, it is a virtual epitome of the liturgical year and the Gospels, though ordinarily only five decades are prayed at a time.
Pious tradition states that the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Dominic and gave him the rosary. Though Dominic and his order really are responsible for popularizing this form of prayer, in fact the rosary pre-dates Dominic by at least 100 years. In reality, the rosary had a slow development.
It is a form of prayer that did not come from church authority but from the faith of the common people. Many monasteries at the time would pray all 150 Psalms every day. Though it was impractical, many lay people wanted to imitate this form of prayer. Eventually the normative practice became quoting 150 short Scripture passages, hence the fifteen decades. Through time, the passages became regularized as quotes from the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel: the words of the Angel to Mary, “Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28), and the words of Elizabeth to Mary, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:42).
It should be clear to anyone at this point that for the most part the rosary is little more than simply quoting Gospel passages in prayer. Anybody who does not have a problem praying with the Scriptures should not have a problem praying the rosary. For this reason, it is unfortunate that it is primarily only a Catholic prayer.
Although the mysteries of the rosary also had a slow development, they were pretty much accepted in their current form by 1483. In 1573 St. Pius V established the feast of “Our Lady of the Rosary” in honor of the defeat of the Turkish Muslim fleet at Lepanto on October 7, 1571.
Because so many different religious traditions have used beads to help them in prayer, the word itself is actually synonymous with prayer; the Old English word for “prayer” is “bead.”
There is nothing magical about the beads. They are simply a mechanical device to keep track of where you are in the prayer. With so many repetitions of different prayers, the beads become almost necessary; they themselves should never be the focus but in fact should help us to concentrate on the prayer.
To pray the rosary appropriately we almost should ignore the beads. People who go out of their way to find the most beautiful rosary may in fact be missing the point; the beads should very much be of secondary importance.
Although the rosary is not a mantra in the strict sense, it certainly can act as one. Mantras, mostly a part of Hindu prayer, are a continual repeating of words to “get in the zone” of prayer, to make the prayer as natural as the breath you are taking. Saying the same prayers over and over again certainly lend themselves to acting as a mantra, all the while meditating on the life of Christ in the mysteries.
It is an unfortunate reality that so many non-Catholics have a problem with the concept of praying a rosary. There is no reason to shy away from this prayer anymore than there is reason to shy away from the Gospels. The rosary quotes the scriptures and traces the entire life of Jesus in prayer and meditation.
Catholics, too, should be more accustomed to praying this beautiful and ancient prayer.
I often will tell parishioners to pray the rosary often enough so that it will not look out of place in their hands in the casket. —Father Richard Kunst