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Saint John Berchmans

Born: March 13, 1599 at Diest, Seventeen Provinces

Died: August 13, 1621 at Rome, Papal States

Venerated: Catholic Church

Beatified: 1865

Canonized: January 15, 1888 by Pope Leon XIII

Feast Day: August 13

Patronages: Altar Serves
Jesuit scholastics

The son of a shoemaker, John Berchmans was born in Diest, Belgium in 1599. After studying for three years under a parish priest who prepared boys for the priesthood, he entered the newly-opened Jesuit College at Mechlin in 1615, and a year later joined their novitiate. In 1618 he journeyed to Rome on foot (in 10 weeks) to continue his studies at the Roman College.

After studying philosophy for three years, he was selected by his superiors to take part in a public debate, but became ill before it had ended. As this model Jesuit Seminarian lay on what turned out to be his deathbed, he clasped his rosary, his crucifix, and his book of rules and said, “These are my three treasures; with these I shall gladly die.” The very next day, August 13, 1621, he passed on to his heavenly reward. He was canonized in 1888 by Pope Leo XIII.

PRAYER: God, You inspired Saint John Berchmans to strive for perfect charity and so attain Your Kingdom at the end of his pilgrimage on Earth. Strengthen us through his intercession that we may advance rejoicing in the way of love. Amen.