Niccolo Boccasino was born in Treviso, Italy, studied in Venice and entered the Dominicans as a teen. A scholar by temperament, he taught and preached for years, publishing biblical commentaries and sermons, before becoming provincial in Lombardy in 1286 and master general of the order in 1296. Thereafter, he was embroiled in political conflicts that the church, then a temporal power, had with European nations and Italy’s various kingdoms. After being elected pope in 1303, he lived humbly and sought to make peace. He died of dysentery and was beatified in 1773.