In 1835, Giuseppe Sarto first saw the light of day at Treviso, Venice. He was destined for the priesthood at an early age. He was a brilliant student and was a gifted theologian. After his ordination he taught theology, was later made a bishop, and was eventually elected a cardinal. Such was his brilliance and holiness that when the incumbent pope died, the college of cardinals elected their young member- Pius X.
The Pope was elected at a tumultuous time. The unification of Italy had left the Pope a virtual prisoner in the Vatican. Pius refused to recognize the new Italian government and fought against the secular policies of the Italian government. The late 19th century saw an unprecedented attack on the church by secularists. Pope Pius was determined to defend the church. In a series of encyclicals, he denounced the forces of secularization and modernization. The Pope did not denounce modernity, he denounced that aspect of the modern world which was irreligious and promoted atheism.
Pope Pius led the Church at a very difficult period. In particular, he also helped to spread the Church in Asia and Africa in. He encouraged missionaries and planted new churches around the world.
In 1910, he fell ill, never to regain his health.
His last will and testament bears the striking sentence: "I was born poor, I have lived in poverty, and I wish to die poor."
Pius X was buried in a simple and unadorned tomb in the crypt below St. Peter's Basilica.
After his death, Pius X was associated with many miracles. Those who prayed to him were cured of a variety of illness and disabilities. One gravely ill nun claimed that she dreamed of the Pope and awoke cured the next morning.
In 1954, he who had become the two hundred and fifty-ninth pope was canonized St. Pius X. His feast day is August 21.