+ The son of a shoemaker, John was born in Diest, Belgium, in 1599.
+ After studying for three years under the tutelage of a local priest who prepared boys for the seminary, John entered the newly opened Jesuit college in Mechlin in 1615; he entered the Society of Jesus the following year.
+ In 1618, John traveled to Rome on foot, to continue his begin studies at the Roman College.
+ A distinguished student of philosophy, he was chosen by his superiors to take part in a public debate, but John became ill before it ended. As the model seminarian lay on his deathbed, he grasped his crucifix, rosary, and the Jesuit Rule and said, “These are my three treasures; with these I shall gladly die.”
+ Saint John Berchmans died on August 13, 1621, and was canonized in 1888.
+ Even during his life, Saint John was regarded as a second Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, on account of his humble and obedient spirit.
On this day the Church also celebrates the memory of Pope Saint Pontian and Saint Hippolytus, a significant theologian in the Early Church. These two important figures of the Roman Church were exiled together and forced to work in mines in Sardinia, where they died around the year 235.
“Let no one have contempt for you youth, but set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.”—1 Timothy 4:12
Lord our God, you invite us always to give you our love, and you are pleased with a cheerful giver. Give us a youthful spirit, to be like Saint John, always eager to seek you and to do your will. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from Supplement to the Divine Office For the Society of Jesus)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.