The artifact is a clipped sheet of paper, dated May 28, 1862, giving a blessing.
Below are some of the many artifacts belonging to or connected to Blessed Pope Pius IX.
Giovanni Mastai-Ferretti was born in the coastal town of Senigallia in 1772, the fourth son of a count. He studied theology in Viterbo and Rome and in 1815, at the age of twenty-three, entered the Papal Noble Guard. He was dismissed after a seizure of an epileptic type. Four years later he was ordained a priest and the seizures all but disappeared, something Fr. Mastai-Ferretti attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. His career began with his appointment as the rector of an orphanage in Rome. Pius VII then sent him to Chile and Peru to assist the nuncios there in mapping out the role of the church in independent South American republics. He was the first (future) pope to have visited America. Later appointments included the Hospice of Santa Michele in Rome and the archbishopric of Spoleto from 1827–1832 from which Mastai-Ferretti asked to resign because he did not share the intransigent views of Pope Gregory XVI. From 1832–1840 he was the archbishop of Imola where he was known for his untiring devotion as a pastor and his liberal political stance, advocating administrative change in the Papal States and sympathizing with Italian nationalism. During an earthquake his skills as an organizer of relief services and great charity were recognized. He worked to improve the education and training of his priests and became known for visiting prisoners and for establishing programs for street children.
Pope Pius IX reigned as pontiff from 1846-1878 during great political upheaval in Italy and in Europe. It was at this time the Papal States were taken over by the Kingdom of Italy. At the time of his death, his body was nearly thrown into the Tiber River during an anti-clerical protest. His biography is filled with details about the trials and triumphs of his pontificate.
We honor Blessed Pius IX for the gift of his life to our Church.