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Saint of the Day: Bl. Peter Friedhofen

A Chimney Sweep Called to Religious Life


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Religious Brother and Founder (1819-1840)

His life

+ Peter was born on a small farm near Weitersburg, Bavaria. His father died only a year after Peter’s birth and his mother passed away eight years later. Left to the care of a poor woman, Peter was unable to attend school.

+ He joined his older brother, Jakob, in working as a chimney sweep for three years. Peter was eventually able to join the Redemptorists, but his brother’s death prompted Peter to leave religious life and to assume the care of Jakob’s pregnant widow and their ten children.

+ It was at this time that Peter began to suffer from a lung condition that would plague him the rest of his life. Despite his physical challenges, however, he succeeded in winning the support of the local bishop in the creation of a new religious community: The Brothers of Mercy of Mary Help of Christians.

+ On March 25, 1851, Peter and two companions received the religious habit and professed vows the following year. In 1853, Peter’s lung condition was diagnosed as tuberculosis, and he spent the remainder of his life supporting his religious brothers in their ministry and seeing the small community spread.

+ Blessed Peter Friedhofen died on December 21, 1860, and was beatified in 1985.

For prayer and reflection

The Lord and Ruler will be coming soon,
and his name will called be Emmanuel,
because he will be called God-with-us.—Entrance Antiphon for the Mass of December 21 (from Isaiah 7)


Hear in kindness, O Lord,
the prayers of your people,
that those who rejoice
at the coming of your Only Begotten Son in our flesh
may, when at last he comes in glory,
gain the reward of eternal life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal: Collect for December 21)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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