Summary of the Life of Blessed Michael Pini, Hermit Recluse of Camaldoli
Michael Pini was born in Florence about 1440 of very devout parents. For many years he held the position of cupbearer at the court of Lorenzo de Medici. The latter had such great esteem for him on account of his virtues, that seeing he was attracted to the religious life and hoping to keep him by his side, he had him ordained priest.
He was given an ecclesiastical benefice, but mindful of the words of the Gospel: “Do not lay up treasure for yourselves on Earth…”(Matt.6.19), he distributed the income of it to the poor and in this way stored up treasures in heaven, where thieves can not break in and steal them.
Becoming a Camaldolese Monk
The wise young man did not abandon his desire; on the contrary, as he accompanied the Prince on a visit to the Sacred Hermitage of Camaldoli, through the grace of God, he was seized by the solitude it afforded, that he suddenly resolved to stay there and take the habit of St. Romuald. That was indeed what he did. He began to advance in virtue with such fervor that after sometime he was granted a more solitary life, staying by himself in a cell, secluded from all the others at first for one year and then for the rest of his life, according to the ancient custom of the Camaldolese.
In this seclusion the hermit, renouncing himself through the grace of the Holy Spirit, attained to the highest degree of perfection. He chastised his body by fasting, instruments of penance and discipline. He was assiduous at prayer which he prolonged for hours in preparation to the Divine Office. Great were the fruits of this divine conversation with God and many the graces he obtained for himself and for his neighbor. The joy of it brightened his face during the sacrifice of the Mass.
Origin of the Crown of Our Lord Prayer
Often in the silence of his cell, he meditated on the petitions of the Our Father asking himself continually how the faithful could best obtain spiritual benefits from it. While he zealously studied this matter, he perceived through divine inspiration that devout people would profit much from this prayer if in honor of Our Lord Jesus Christ, they would recite a prayer of thirty-three (33) Our Fathers. Then the saintly hermit made one with his own hands and gave it to his Superior. When they presented it to Pope Leo X, not only did they obtain his approbation, but the Holy Father rejoicing over the pious gift, enriched it with various indulgences in his Bull of February 18, 1516.
Advancing in Holiness, bouts with evil
Meanwhile, the blessed man avdanced more and more in the love of God and striving to practice every means of mortification, bore with the incredible patience, the molestations of the devil who even visibly attacked him. For this reason God wished to adorn him with the gifts of miracles, prophecy and of the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures, of which he interpreted a few passages with great depths of knowledge, although he was not well educated.
His name became so famous throughout Italy that a great number of people climbed the steep mountain expressly to see him and speak with him. Among others, Cardinal Julius de Medici and Alexander Farnese went to see him. He foretold them that they would become supreme Pontiffs. When this was realized, one took the name of Clement VII, the other Paul III. Although the blessed man had an abundance of heavenly gifts he remained humble.
Freed from Earthly Ties
Blessed Michael desired to be freed from earthly ties to be united to Jesus, and this most lovable Redeemer, after revealing him the hour of his death, called him to Himself in January 21, 1522, after more than twenty years of seclusion, granting him the gift of miracles even after his death.
The Inspiration for the Prayer
The Crown of Our Lord instituted by Blessed Michael Pini is aimed at commemorating the thirty-three years of Jesus spent in this world for our salvation, thus we recite as many Our Fathers. Five Hail Marys are inserted in honor of the five wounds of Our Redeemer and to remind us of Mary, our amiable Mother, who stood under the cross as our Co-redemptrix.
Credit Source: A PDF version of a Pamphlet by the Immaculate Heart Hermitage, New Camaldoli in California. See Resources.