Born in Sezze, southeast of Rome, Charles was inspired by the lives of Salvator Horta and Paschal Baylon to become a Franciscan in 1635. He was determined to become a lay brother with a great desire to be poor and to beg alms for his love.
He served as cook, porter, sacristan, gardener and beggar at various friaries in Italy. His intentions may have been sincere, but he was often inept at his job. He once started a huge fire in the kitchen when the oil in which he was frying onions burst into flames.
Charles had the knack of seeing things in the Franciscan way. On one occasion, his superior ordered Charles — then porter — to give food only to traveling friars who came to the door. Charles obeyed this direction; simultaneously the alms to the friars decreased. Charles convinced the superior the two facts were related. When the friars resumed giving goods to all who asked at the door, alms to the friars increased also.
Charles wrote an autobiography, The Grandeurs of the Mercies of God. He also wrote several other spiritual books. Over the years his spiritual advisors helped him discern which of his ideas or ambitions were from God. Charles himself was sought out for spiritual advice. The dying Pope Clement IX called Charles to his bedside for a blessing.
Charles died at San Francesco a Ripa in Rome and was buried there. Pope John XXIII canonized him in 1959.
Adapted by A. J. Valentini from: St. Charles of Sezze | Franciscan Media. (n.d.). Franciscan Media. Retrieved Jan. 16, 2021, from https://www.franciscanmedia.org/St.-of-the-day/St.-charles-of-sezze