Saint Charles Borromeo was born on October 2, 1538 at the castle of Arona on Lake Maggiore near Milan. His father was the Count of Arona and his mother a member of the House of Medici. He was the third of six children born to the couple.
At the age of 12, the young Count Charles Borromeo dedicated himself to a life of service to the Church. His uncle gave to him the family income from the Benedictine abbey of Saints Gratinian and Felinus. Even as a youth, his integrity was obvious. He was explicit in telling his father that he could only keep the money required for his education and to prepare him for service to the Church. All other funds belonged to the poor of the Church and were to be passed along to them.
The young count suffered from a speech impediment that made him appear slow to those who did not know him. Despite this challenge, he performed well and impressed his teachers. He attended the University of Pavia and learned Latin. He was praised because he was hardworking and thorough.
In 1554 his father passed away and although Charles was a teenager, responsibility for his household fell to him. Charles continued in his studies and earned a doctorate in canon and civil law.
His responsibility for his household resulted in financial difficulties, and Charles earned a reputation for being short of funds.
Learn more on St. Charles Borromeo: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=212