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Pope Urban VII (served September 15, 1590 - September 27, 1590)

One of the genuinely pious and charitable Popes, he unfortunately died before he could even be consecrated.

Born Giambasttista Castagna in 1521, he was the son of a Genoese nobleman and was related to several cardinals. He studied civil and canon law and held a variety of important church positions under popes Julius III, Paul IV, Pius IV, Gregory XIII, and Sixtus V, and was appointed a cardinal priest by Gregory. He was held in great esteem for his learning and piety, and was elected pope after the death of Sixtus.

He took the name of Urban (Latin for "kind") and planned a series of Papal works on behalf of the poor. He settled up the accounts those in debt to the monts-de-piété and ordered bakers to bake bigger bread for less dough. He also forbade his chamberlains from wearing expensive silk and strove to eliminate nepotism in the church. All this in twelve days. Imagine what he could have done in twelve years.

Unfortunately, he caught malaria and died. Charitable to the end, his fortune of 30,000 scudi went to provide dowries for poor girls.

In 1606, his remains were moved from the Vatican Basilica to the Church of St. Maria sopra Minerva, where a monument to him was erected.

Information from The Catholic Encyclopedia (http://www.newadvent.org)

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