Pope Benedict XV - Born, Genoa, Italy, 21 November 1854, of a noble family. Died 22 January 1922.
He acquired a doctorate of law in 1875, after which he studied for the priesthood and then the training school for the Vatican diplomatic service - most of his career was spent in the service of the Vatican.
Cardinal Mariano Rampolla was a friend and patron, employing him as a secretary on being posted to Madrid and in a similar post on being appointed Secretary of State. When Rampolla left his post with the election of Pius X, and was succeeded by Cardinal Merry del Val, Chiesa was retained in his post.
16 December 1907 Chiesa became Archbishop of Bologna.
On 25 May 1914 Chiesa was appointed a cardinal and, in this capacity, on the outbreak of World War I, and the death of Pius X, he made a speech on the Church's position and duties, emphasising the need for neutrality and promoting peace and easing suffering. The Conclave opened at the end of August, and, on 3 September 1914, Chiesa was elected Pope, taking the name of Benedict XV.
He made several, unsuccessful, attempts to negotiate peace, but the Vatican was excluded from the peace negotiations on the war's end. In the post war period Benedict was involved in developing the Church administration to deal with the new international system that had emerged.