Peter, who is called Peter Celestine, because when he became Pope he did so under the title of Celestine V, was the son of respectable Catholic parents, and was born at Isernia in Apulia. He was hardly entered on boyhood, when he withdrew into a desert, in order to keep his soul safe from the snares of the world. In solitude he fed his mind with heavenly meditation, and brought his body into subjection, even by wearing an iron chain next to his bare flesh. He founded, under the Rule of St. Benedict, that congregation which was afterwards known as the Celestines. His light, as of a candle set upon a candlestick, could not be kept hidden, and after the Church of Rome had for a long while been widowed of a shepherd, he was chosen without his knowledge and in his absence, to fill the chair of Peter. The news of his election filled himself with as great amazement, as it did all others with sudden joy. When, however, he was seated in the exalted place of the Papal dignity, he found that the many cares by which he was beset made it wellnigh impossible for him to give himself to his accustomed meditations; of his own free will, he resigned the burden and the honour together; and, while he sought to return to his old way of life, he fell asleep in the Lord. How precious his death was in his sight was gloriously manifested by a Cross which appeared shining in the air before the door of the cell. He was illustrious for miracles both during his life and after his death, and when these had been duly investigated, Clement V, in the eleventh year after his departure hence, enrolled his name among those of the Saints.
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