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Sunday 19 September |
Our Lady of La Salette
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And today we celebrate...Saint of the Day

Saint John Berchmans

Patron of Altar Servers; "A second Aloysius Gonzaga"


Public Domain

Jesuit Scholastic – (1599-1621)

His life

+ John, the son of a shoemaker, was born in Diest, Belgium. After studying under the guidance of his parish priest for three years, he entered the newly opened Jesuit college in Mechlin in 1615. He entered the Society of Jesus as a novice one year later.

+ In 1618, John journeyed to Rome on foot, in order to continue his studies at the Rome College.

+ After distinguishing himself in philosophical studies, he was chosen by his superiors to take part in a public debate. John became ill before the debate had ended.

+ Respected by his confreres as a model religious and as a “second Saint Aloysius Gonzaga,” he died on August 13, 1621. On his deathbead, John held his crucifix, rosary, and copy of the Jesuit Rule, exclaiming, “These are my three treasures; with these I shall gladly die.”

+ Saint John Berchmans was canonized in 1888 and is honored as the patron saint of altar servers.

Spiritual bonus

On this day, the church also celebrates the memory of Saint Sylvester Gozzolini. In the 13th century he established a reform movement within the Benedictines that led tot the creation of a new monastic family commonly known as the Sylvestrine Benedictines. Saint Sylvester died in 1267 and his name was added to the Roman Martyrology in 1598. To learn more about the Sylvestrine Benedictine monks in the United States, visit:


“Our true worth does not consist in what human beings think of us. What we really are consists in what God wants us to be.”—Saint John Berchmans


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.

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