Blessed Pope Benedict XI was born in Italy in 1240. He joined the Dominicans and became the ninth master-general of the order in 1296. He defended Pope Boniface VIII against William of Nogaret, who worked for King Philip IV of France. He became the 194th pope on Oct. 22, 1303. He wrote sermons on the Gospel of Matthew, the Book of Job and Psalms. Benedict XI wasn’t pope for long; he died July 7, 1304. Some believe he was poisoned by William of Nogaret. He was beatified in 1773.