Petrus Canisius Van Lierde


Petrus Canisius Jean van Lierde, O.S.A., born 22 April 1907 † 12 March 1995, served forty years from 1951 to 1991 as Vicar General of the Vatican State, and was the longest serving Vatican official in that position. Van Lierde was born in Hasselt, Belgium to a Dutch family. After his education, he joined the Order of Saint Augustine and was ordained priest 30 May 1931. After receiving doctorates in theology and philosophy, he headed the Augustinian College Saint Monica in Rome, where he was hiding many refugees including military officers, Jews and anti-fascist politicians during he war years. Pope Pius XII named him Titular Bishop of Porphyreon in 1951 and Vicar General of the Vatican State. October 1958 he gave the last rites to the Pope and presided over his funeral in Saint Peter Basilica. He functioned as Sacristan in four Papal Conclaves, 1958, 1963 and twice in 1978. After having served forty years and one day, Pope John Paul II accepted his resignation in 1991 and named him Emeritus Vicar General, with the privilege to maintain his residence inside the Vatican near the papal quarters. In 1954, when Pope Pius XII seemed to be without hope of survival, he asked for Petrus  ( Wikipedia article )


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