An Account of the election of Pius X

Source: District of Asia

Following is a speech given by Cardinal Gibbons on the conclave which elected Pops St. Pius X.  The conclave lasted from Friday night till Tuesday night.

The heat was intense and the inner heat not less than the sun’s. Ignis Ardens was certainly true of the days of the conclave. There were seven sessions. Cardinal Sarto received 5, 10, 21, 24, 27, 35, 50 votes; when he had received 21 votes he became much distressed; he rose up in his seat and said with great fervor: "Obtestor vos EE. PP. ut nominis mei omnino obliviscamini" and other words to like effect. The next day when lie received 27 votes he was alarmed and begged the cardinals with great intensity and earnestness not to impose this charge upon him, finishing his appeal with the words "I cannot, I will not accept a burden I cannot bear." His countenance was suffused with emotion as he sat down. I turned, said His Eminence, to Cardinal Rampolla and asked "What did you understand him to say?... He answered, "He absolutely refuses to accept." Cardinal Gibbons continued. Solitary and alone I went to my room communing with myself, not knowing what to do, for it looked as if the conclave would be protracted. That afternoon one of the cardinals went to Cardinal Sarto and implored him to accept what was evidently the wish of the majority. At last he yielded and at the following session one of the Cardinals announced that His Eminence Cardinal Sarto would accept if .elected. At that scrutiny he received 35 votes and all left happy, like boys out of school; for they felt the end was near.

The next day, he received 50 out of the 62 votes cast. When this ballot was taken the cardinals all approached and formed a circle around Cardinal Sarto who was down in the left hand corner of the room. He was formally told of his election and was asked if he accepted. He bowed his head and said, “Accipio.”

“Quo nomine vocaberis?” After a brief pause, he answered:

“Quoniam swenlo elapso Pontifices, qui nomine Pii gavisi sunt, vere fidei confessores erant parati ad eam defendendam, etiam usque ad sanguinis profusionem, sumo nomen Pii X.” and then he fainted away.

The Cardinal then went on to speak of the Holy Father's great humility, kindness and charity.

Cf. Woodstock letters 1903