The deathmask of St. Charles Borromeo

I tip my biretta to WDTPRSer aventicus   o{]:¬)   for this great glimpse of the deathmask of St. Charles Borromeo.


Truly one of the great noses of all time.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Geoffrey says:

    Pardon my ignorance, but what exactly is a “deathmask”? I’m thinking a wax impression of the face soon after death? If so, why? Very interesting, considering Saint Charles Borromeo is the patron of my cathedral parish! :-)

  2. Paul Hargadon says:

    I don’t mean any disrespect, but the first thing I thought of when I saw the death mask of the dear saint was that scene from the W.C. Fields movie, “The Bank Dick”:

    On his first few minutes as a vigilant bank dick, Sousè is seriously conscious of his responsibilities, so much so that he chokes a young boy in a cowboy outfit waving a toy gun – believing that he is a holdup man. He asks: “Is that gun loaded?” “Certainly not,” says the boy’s mother, “but I think you are.” As she walks her son out of the bank, the bratty boy ridicules the guard’s shiny, bulbous red nose: “Mommy, doesn’t that man have a funny nose?” His mother chides him for making fun:

    You mustn’t make fun of the gentleman, Clifford. You’d like to have a nose like that full of nickels, wouldn’t you?

  3. Matthew Mattingly says:

    Although the nose commemnt is humerous, I didn’t think of any of that. I just looked at the face of a man who was one of the greatest priests of his day, a tireless and generous soul who did his best (and actually wore himself out) for the good of the Church during and after the Council of Trent. I don’t think he’d be happy with the Catholic Church of today, certainly not with the Protestant style Novus Ordo (which suprisingly is a lot like what the few Lutheran observers at the Council of Trent demamded the Council turn the Catholic Mass of that time into). Of course the great Popes of that time, and the Council Fathers of Trent refused. And the Catholic Church flourished like never before after Trent….only to be gravely wounded when we finally DID adopt the form of Mass demanded by the Lutherans and called it the Novus Ordo. The rest is history.

  4. Richard says:

    Having been baptized and confirmed at the cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo in Monterey, I consider Saint Charles a patron of mine. It is awesome to see such a lifelike image of what he looked like. Saint Charles Borromeo, pray for us!

  5. Geoffrey says:

    Richard: “Having been baptized and confirmed at the cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo in Monterey…”

    That is my parish! Small world! :-)

  6. Liz F. says:

    I love how peaceful he looks!

  7. RBrown says:

    The Death Mask site is fascinating–James Dean a bit spooky.

    I saw the Beethoven mask in the BeethovenHaus in Bonn.

  8. RBrown says:

    I couldn’t help but notice how much San Carlo’s mask resembles the face of Dobby.

  9. Richard says:


    Peace, brother! I hope the restoration efforts on the cathedral are coming along well. Have a great new year. First Night is cool, but gets crazy toward midnight.

  10. Animadversor says:

    If the embedded video isn’t working for you, try

  11. Geoffrey says:


    Thank you for the greetings! I’ve seen the sketches of what the sanctuary will look like in the “restored” cathedral. Good news! The tabernacle will be front and center! Deo gratias! I was on a high all day when I saw that! :-)

    I’ve actually never been to First Night… I usually just relax at home with a nice bottle of champagne! ;-)

  12. Cacciaguida says:

    Major schnozz, to be sure, but no one beats Pius XII!

  13. Richard says:


    Thanks for the indescribably wonderful news about the position of the tabernacle in the restored cathedral. It’s being restored to the center has been something my wife and I have been wondering about. Deo Gratias is right. One more thing to thank God for in the Te Deum tomorrow.


  14. Timothy James says:

    Kinda looks like a Cardinal Newman nose

  15. Matthew Mattingly says:

    No nose could beat Al Lewis’ nose (Grandpa on the hit 1960’s TV series “The Munsters”, 1964-1967.

  16. Jeffry Moore says:

    This video got honors today and the day is not finished yet.

    Honors for This Video:
    #45 – Most Viewed (Today) – Education

    Happy New Year to all and may the Mother of God obtain many graces for you in 2008!
    don Jeffry

  17. Cristhian says:

    and i was thinking that my nose is a big nose.

  18. Matthew Mattingly says:

    No one remembers Jimmy Durante’s nose? That was his trademark all his life.

Comments are closed.