Priest and Martyr (1350-1393)
+ John was a parish priest in Prague, renowned for his preaching. He would later serve as vicar general of his diocese.
+ According to tradition, he was invited to serve in the court of King Wenceslaus IV and served as the queen’s confessor.
+ The queen suffered a great deal because of the king’s cruel abuse and marital infidelity. John was able to console and guide her through many painful experiences.
+ In 1393, the king demanded that John reveal what the queen had shared during her confessions. When John refused to break the seal of the confessional, he was imprisoned and tortured before being thrown off a bridge and drowned in the Moldau River.
+ Saint John Nepomucene, the “Martyr of the Confessional,” was canonized in 1729 and is honored as a patron saint of Bohemia and of confessors.
Devotion to Saint John Nepomucene was very popular among immigrants coming to the United States in the 19th century and many churches were dedicated to the saint, especially in communities with large numbers from Eastern Europe.
“The Christian knows through faith that everyday activity is a sacrifice pleasing to the Lord when it is accompanied by purity of intentions, charity, the giving of oneself.”—Saint John Paul II
Almighty and merciful God, who brought your Martyr blessed John Nepomucene to overcome the torments of his passion, grant that we, who celebrate the day of his triumph, may remain invincible under your protection against the snares of the enemy. 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: Common of Martyrs—For One Martyr)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.