the Carmel

The Jubilee of Leo XIII

March 2, 1810 - July 20, 1903
257e Pope of the Catholic Church (Of 1878 to 1903)

"The good Pope is so old that it looks like he is dead, I would never have imagined him like that, he can hardly say anything...

Therese, LT 36

As can be seen opposite, this irreverent passage was scraped from the original manuscript of the letter 36 of Thérèse... but this so old Pope still survived him by several years.


Born in Carpineto Romano, near Rome, Italy, Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci is the son of Count Lodovico Pecci and née Countess Anna Prosperi-Buzi - who had six other children.

A student at the Jesuit college in Viterbo, Vincent Joachim Pecci entered the Collegium Romanum in 1824 with his brother, who would become a Jesuit. He continued his studies at the Academy of Ecclesiastical Nobles, which prepared future diplomats for the Holy See. He received a doctorate in theology in 1836 and then a doctorate in law. in utroque swear, all in Rome. He was ordained a priest on December 31, 1837.

His academic qualities made him noticed by Cardinal Lambruschini who introduced him to Pope Gregory XVI. He was soon named "prelate of His Holiness", then papal legate in Benevento, a papal enclave in the Kingdom of Naples where, by energetic measures, he managed to put an end to banditry.

Having become papal legate in Spoleto, he was then appointed papal legate in Perugia to prepare for the visit of Gregory XVI to this diocese of 200 inhabitants.

In 1843, he was appointed titular archbishop (or in partibus) of Damietta and received the episcopal ordination, which was conferred on him by the hands of Cardinal Lambruschini, and he was immediately sent as apostolic nuncio to Belgium, on January 28, 1843; but he met with less success there: the young diplomat in his thirties did not succeed in putting an end to the quarrels which then opposed the Jesuits and the Belgian episcopate.

He became Archbishop of Perugia in 1846 (until 1877) and appointed Cardinal by Gregory XVI in short, that is to say secret, in order to remain in this position normally incompatible with the title of cardinal. On the death of Gregory XVI, the opening of the Vatican's secret archives revealed his title of cardinal, but his great popularity earned him permission from Pius IX to remain Archbishop of Perugia. In 1877, he was appointed Cardinal Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, a position he held until his own election as Pope following Pius IX on February 20, 1878. 

Source : Wikipedia, where you can read the rest of the article.


In this year 1887, the priestly jubilee of the Pope is very often mentioned in the newspaper La Croix, to which Mr. Martin subscribes. See the newspaper of the time online on the site of the BNF, where one finds more than 140 articles mentioning this jubilee for the year 1887. An example, the number of the 3 April 1887.


To know this Pope in depth and his immense contribution to the Church, it is good to consult his page on the Vatican website, where you can read his encyclicals.