St. Peter Canisius

Born: 1521
Birthplace: Holland
Died: 1597
Canonized: 1925, by Pope Pius XI

Peter Canisius, a great saint and Doctor of the Church, once said: “The fear of many people is greater than necessary, because they look for human and not for divine help; they act in despair instead of praying with holy confidence for the oppressed Church.”

His younger self did not often demonstrate the kind of humility expressed in the quote above. He was known for “contentiousness, fits of anger, jealousies, secret hatreds, arrogance, inconsiderate expressing of opinions on weighty matters…” and other ugly qualities. At the same time, he showed signs of interest in the priesthood and eventually became a Jesuit. A powerful speaker, he made a point of being charitable in his discourse and thereby helped preserve the Church’s presence against the rising tide of Protestantism, most notably in Germany and Switzerland. Later, Pope Leo XIII referred to him as “the second apostle of Germany, after Boniface.”

Prayer

Almighty Father, Pope John Paul II repeated the words, “Be not afraid” many times. We pray for the confidence, not in ourselves, but in Your divine wisdom and justice in defending the faith and evangelizing. Through the words and deeds of St. Peter Canisius, may we see that through prayer and reliance on You that we will be able to bring many to the fullness of truth. Amen.

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