St. Pius X was born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto on June 2, 1835, the second of ten children. He was baptized the following day. Though exceedingly poor, his parents valued education. At every stage of study, Giuseppe's intelligence and high moral character attracted notice. On September 18, 1858, Father Sarto was ordained at the cathedral in Castelfranco. When the diocese of Mantua fell vacant in 1884, Pope Leo XIII named Canon Sarto its bishop. In 1893, Leo XIII, elevated Bishop Sarto to Cardinal; appointing him Patriarch of Venice. When Pope Leo died in July of 1903, the College of Cardinals elected Giuseppe Cardinal Sarto the 258th Vicar of Christ. Dr. Joseph F. X. Sladky, in an article for Crisis Magazine, summarizes Pius' life and legacy:
Pope St. Pius X passed through the ecclesiastical cursus honorum, step by step, bringing a wealth of pastoral experience to his papacy as few other popes ever could claim. He held the positions of curate, pastor, canon, spiritual director at the seminary, diocesan chancellor, bishop, metropolitan, cardinal, and pope. His practical experience in overseeing three important Italian episcopal sees provided him with a keen appreciation of pastoral needs. Furthermore, this pope, who held office for only eleven years, ranks as one of the greatest reforming popes in history, certainly the greatest since the Council of Trent. ...Perhaps the most eloquent testimony to St. Pius X's life spent in the service of God is the inscription on his tomb in the crypt of the basilica of St. Peter's:
Born poor and humble of heart,I give you seven quotations from Pope St. Pius X that resonate today:
Undaunted champion of the Catholic faith,
Zealous to restore all things in Christ,
Crowned a holy life with a holy death.
Truly we are passing through disastrous times, when we may well make our own the lamentation of the Prophet: “There is no truth, and there is no mercy, and there is no knowledge of God in the land” (Hosea 4:1). Yet in the midst of this tide of evil, the Virgin Most Merciful rises before our eyes like a rainbow, as the arbiter of peace between God and man.
God could have given us the Redeemer of the human race, and the Founder of the Faiths in another way than through the Virgin, but since Divine Providence has been pleased that we should have the Man-God through Mary, who conceived Him by the Holy Spirit and bore Him in her womb, it only remains for us to receive Christ from the hands of Mary.
My hope is in Christ, who strengthens the weakest by His Divine help. I can do all in Him who strengthens me. His Power is infinite, and if I lean on him, it will be mine. His Wisdom is infinite, and if I look to Him for counsel, I shall not be deceived. His Goodness is infinite, and if my trust is stayed in Him, I shall not be abandoned.
Let the storm rage and the sky darken – not for that shall we be dismayed. If we trust as we should in Mary, we shall recognize in her, the Virgin Most Powerful "who with virginal foot did crush the head of the serpent."
Holy communion is the shortest and surest way to Heaven. There are others, innocence, for instance, but that is for little children; penance, but we are afraid of it; generous endurance of the trials of life, but when they come we weep and ask to be spared. Once for all, beloved children, the surest, easiest, shortest way is by the Eucharist. It is so easy to approach the holy table, and there we taste the joys of Paradise.
In the first year of his pontificate, 1903, His Holiness Pope Pius wrote:
Now the way to reach Christ is not hard to find: it is the Church. Rightly does Chrysostom inculcate: "The Church is thy hope, the Church is thy salvation, the Church is thy refuge." (Hom. de capto Euthropio, n. 6.) It was for this that Christ founded it, gaining it at the price of His blood, and made it the depositary of His doctrine and His laws, bestowing upon it at the same time an inexhaustible treasury of graces for the sanctification and salvation of men. You see, then, Venerable Brethren, the duty that has been imposed alike upon Us and upon you of bringing back to the discipline of the Church human society, now estranged from the wisdom of Christ; the Church will then subject it to Christ, and Christ to God.
The absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way.
— Oath Against Modernism, promulgated by Pope Pius X