Sunday 26th March 2017

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Peter Canisius

December 10, 2013 saints No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

When the Pope recognized the challenges of the Church, he called a council. After the council, the Pope called a Jesuit to write a catechism to clearly state the teachings of the Church. Such was the case for Servant of God Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, in the last half of the 20th century when Pope Paul VI called for a definitive catechism. His book, The Catholic Catechism, has sold well over a million copies. Similarly, King Ferdinand of Austria ordered St. Peter Canisius to write a catechism after the Council of Trent, in the 16th century.
St. Peter Canisius, the second apostle to Germany — St. Boniface being the first — was born in 1521. From birth he resided in Nijmegen, which was part of the Archdiocese of Cologne. Peter was the eldest son of Jacob Kanis, who was tutor to the Duke of Lorraine’s family. Although Peter lost his mother at a young age, his father remarried to a good woman who saw to his education and formation. At an early age, Peter entered the University of Cologne and received his master’s in arts when only 19 years of age. He then went to Louvain to study canon law.
He realized, however, that this was not the path for him. His father had arranged a marriage for him, but he refused, having taken a vow of celibacy. He returned to Cologne to study theology and met Fr. Peter Faber, the first Jesuit disciple of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
Peter made a 30-day retreat with Fr. Faber during which he elected to join the Jesuit order. He lived in the community as a novice in Cologne. He kept busy mainly with prayer, study, ministering to the poor, and writing. His first publication came when he released the complete works of St. Cyril of Alexandria and St. Leo the Great.
He also taught at the university in Cologne, debated, and preached. In 1546 he entered the priesthood. His reputation for wisdom and knowledge of the faith spread far and wide. St. Ignatius then called him to Rome where Peter closely assisted him for five months. On September 7, 1549, he took his solemn vows as a Jesuit, promising St. Ignatius that he would go anywhere and do anything he was told.
Peter was thus sent to Ingolstadt. His more important mission was to disseminate the decrees of the Council of Trent throughout Germany, which was no easy task, the previous messenger having been killed by the Protestants. On his way to Bavaria, he received a doctorate of theology in Bologna. In 1550 he was elected rector of the college in Ingolstadt, and then vice chancellor. While there, he converted many by catechizing and helping the poor. He enkindled the fire of faith in tepid Catholics and also brought many Protestants into the Church.
By 1552, Ignatius transferred Peter to Vienna at the request of King Ferdinand. Again he met with great success in establishing a college even though there were few Catholics left. Despite his harsh German accent, his eloquent words and attention to the marginalized won more hearts for Christ. He refilled the churches furthering the Catholic Reformation.
St. Peter was so popular that many called for him to become bishop of Vienna, which he adamantly refused. Not the people, not the king, not even the Pope could persuade him to accept the post — though he finally agreed to act as administrator of the diocese for one year.
Peter had other work upon which he was focusing — the work for which he would eventually be declared a doctor of the Church. Following the Council of Trent, a compendium of Catholic teaching was desperately needed. Peter Canisius, now known more for his series of catechisms than for any other work, began to produce them. The chaos following the council demanded them. So did many other people.
King Ferdinand asked him to begin work on a catechism that would be based on the findings of the Council of Trent. St. Peter also wrote a Summary of Christian Doctrine, which became immensely popular, as well as catechisms for both the youth and adults.
These catechisms were also part of the main foundation upon which the Catholic Reformation was built. They were so popular that they were translated into 15 languages in his time, including Japanese and Hindustani — no doubt as a result of the efforts of his fellow Jesuit, St. Francis Xavier.
St. Ignatius, fully aware of the gift of St. Peter Canisius, called him to Prague. Peter thought he was being called to found another college but Ignatius had other ideas. Much to the dismay of St. Peter, St. Ignatius appointed him to be the provincial of the Jesuit province covering Austria, south Germany, and Bohemia.
All of St. Peter’s self-deprecating reasons for refusing the assignment fell on deaf ears. St. Ignatius held firm to his decision, which proved effective by the results. In two years, St. Peter’s endeavors of winning converts and of establishing the college were so successful that even the Protestants jockeyed to have their sons win places in it.
Canisius was also a brilliant apologist and evangelist. He participated in the debate at Worms in 1557, decimating the arguments of the Protestants, but with great gentleness and charity. He traveled nearly 20,000 miles in his 30 years of giving missions and retreats. Most of these were covered by foot or horseback.
From 1559-1565 he resided in Augsburg at the request of King Ferdinand. Once again he founded a college and reignited the hearts of the people. He even had the schools that were destroyed by the Protestants restored to the Church.
St. Peter continued to work on printing books, foreseeing the impact of the printing press. His book General Prayer was used in Germany for centuries. When he retired as provincial, he settled in Dillingen in Bavaria, where he taught, heard Confessions, and continued to prepare books for publication in obedience to his Jesuit superiors.
Even when serving at court in Innsbruck until 1577, he continued this work. Although his health was beginning to fail, he went to Fribourg, Switzerland, where, against incredible odds, he founded yet another Catholic college, which still exists. Again he converted and inspired many despite the attacks of the Protestants.
In 1591, he recovered briefly from a paralyzing stroke. With the aid of a secretary, he continued to write. He finally succumbed to his illness on December 21, 1591.
Dear St. Peter, you loved your enemies. You approached the Protestants of your day with charity and acceptance and thus converted many of them at a most difficult time in the history of our Church. Help us to develop these same qualities as we face the enemies of the Church today and thereby win more souls for the Kingdom of God. Amen.

+    +    +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. Mrs. Breslin’s articles have appeared in Homiletic & Pastoral Review and in the Marian Catechist Newsletter. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Raymond Desouza . . . Shield of Faith PART 4

Chris Manion . . . European Union's Demographic Whimper; Vatican Hosts The Enemy; Can Rogue Federal Judiciary Be Controlled?

 

Chaput: Everyone who’s a legal citizen should come pray for immigrants

Philadelphia, Pa., Mar 18, 2017 / 05:32 am (CNA).- As fears of deportation threaten to keep many immigrants home from a prayer service on Sunday, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia is calling on citizens and legal residents to attend the…Continue Reading

Rabbi says Pope’s homilies could threaten Catholic-Jewish relations

March 13, 2017 An Italian rabbi has raised a protest against the topic of a conference to be held by the Italian Bibilical Association: “Israel, people of a jealous God. Consistencies and ambiguities of an elitist religion.” Rabbi Giuseppe Laras…Continue Reading

This man drives for Uber to spread the pro-life message

TROY, Ohio, March 10, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – As an abortion abolitionist, Bryan Kemper wears many different hats – including sharing the pro-life message while driving for Uber. “I am in an area where I drive a lot of college students…Continue Reading

The secret obsession that will destroy modern feminism

March 8, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – What does it mean to be a woman? Planned Parenthood and the modern-day feminist movement are profoundly confused about this. Today is International Women’s Day. Planned Parenthood and its allies would have people believe that…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood refuses Trump offer to give up abortions and keep funding

March 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood has declined an offer from President Trump to keep – and possibly increase – its federal funding in exchange for ceasing to commit abortions. The proposal was an “impossibility” for Planned Parenthood officials,…Continue Reading

Pope’s Address to Roman Clergy (Part I)

The Holy Father’s Meditation The Progress of Faith in the Life of a Priest “Lord, increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5). This question arose spontaneously in the disciples when the Lord was speaking to them of mercy and said that we…Continue Reading

Southern MN Catholic diocese files bankruptcy over abuse claims

MINNEAPOLIS — The Catholic Diocese of New Ulm, Minnesota filed for bankruptcy protection on Friday, the 14th U.S.  Catholic diocese nationwide and third in Minnesota to do so in the face of mounting claims of sexual abuse by clergy. The…Continue Reading

Trump hit with ultimatum on global ‘atrocity’

An organization representing the sentiments of more than a quarter-million Americans is asking the nation’s new U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, to urge the global body to launch a campaign to protect Christians and other Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2017/03/trump-insider-hit-with-plea-to-stop-genocide-of-christians/#5TeczOEyZqlCUFew.99

Cardinal Cupich: No Immigration Agents In Catholic Churches Without Warrant

CHICAGO — Archbishop Blase Cupich told Chicago’s Catholic priests Tuesday not to allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on to church property without a warrant. In a letter to the archdiocese’s priests, Cupich said the Archdiocese of Chicago “stands in…Continue Reading

Scholas Occurrentes: Another Vatican-Soros Connection?

After our recent report about Pope Francis’ praise of a Soros-funded left-wing organization called PICO — People Improving Communities through Organizing — we have been informed by some Spanish-speaking sources about a connection between Pope Francis’ papal foundation Scholas Occurrentes…Continue Reading

Ohio bishops support bill protecting clergy’s religious liberty in same-sex ‘marriage’

COLUMBUS, Ohio, February 28, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — In a rare move of legislative activism, all of Ohio’s Roman Catholic bishops officially expressed support for the state’s proposed Pastor Protection Act (HB-36). The Catholic Conference of Ohio (CCO) testified last week…Continue Reading

Leaders call for Catholic sanctuary movement to blunt deportation crackdown

MODESTO, Calif. (CNS) — The push for sanctuary was on a lot of minds at the U.S. Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements. Concerns about President Donald Trump’s intention to deport millions of unauthorized immigrants rose throughout the Feb. 16-19…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Analysis: Did Pope Francis just condemn Communion for the remarried?

The Pope’s statements have the internet abuzz – but their importance has been exaggerated For the last couple of days Catholic social media and the blogosphere have been preoccupied with some reported remarks by Pope Francis. The remarks carry weight because they come from an impeccable source – the president of the Chilean bishops’ conference, Bishop Santiago Silva, and its secretary Bishop Fernando Ramos – and because they relate to the great ecclesial controversy of the moment:…Continue Reading

Bishop Olmsted Makes Winning Case for Catholic Education

Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix has issued a clarion call for Catholic education that focuses on its central mission: the evangelization of young people. “The most loving thing a Catholic school can do is to share with each person the living Jesus Christ,” Bishop Olmsted writes in a recently published apostolic letter. Promulgated on March 3, the feast day of St. Katharine Drexel, Bishop

Cardinal Cupich tells national TV audience: Church ‘stands with’ immigrants

Town Hall meetings are out of fashion for certain Republican congressmen who have spent the start of 2017 dodging Democratic Party activists. But Cardinal Blase Cupich got an altogether warmer reception when he used a nationally broadcast town hall this weekend to tell recent immigrants, “the church stands with you.”

Gorsuch defends Hobby Lobby, religious freedom at confirmation hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 21, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Sen. Orin Hatch, R-UT, gave Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch the chance to explain how an important religious freedom law is applied today in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Regarding whether the Obama administration’s birth control mandate violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), Gorsuch ruled it “failed to meet RFRA’s standard,” Hatch recalled. While on the Tenth Circuit, Gorsuch sided with the majority in Hobby Lobby Stores v. Sebelius. The…Continue Reading

House bill’s ‘life protections’ said laudable, other aspects ‘troubling’

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The inclusion of “critical life protections” in the House health care bill is laudable, but other provisions, including those related to Medicaid and tax credits, are “troubling” and “must be addressed” before the measure is passed, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ domestic policy committee. Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, who is chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, sent a letter March 17 to…Continue Reading

Finally Fitting In

By DONALD DeMARCO MWhen he was lecturing at the University of Chicago, Mortimer Adler identified himself as a Jew teaching Catholic philosophy at a Protestant school to a class of atheists. The image of not quite fitting in was characteristic of Adler’s life, though he was never one to complain about it. The absence of…Continue Reading

Sheriff And Judge… Arpaio’s Criminal-Contempt Trial Brings Familiar Faces To The Courtroom

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — Joe Arpaio and Susan Bolton were companions in the news here in 2010. Arpaio, the longtime elected Republican sheriff of Phoenix’s Maricopa County, and Bolton, a federal judge here nominated by President Bill Clinton, both were prominent figures as Arizona legislators tried to discourage illegal immigration, but open-borders street mobs…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101… The Early History Of The Eugenics Movement

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of more than a thousand pro-eugenics quotes, including those by Margaret Sanger, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + “The eugenic movement, therefore, cannot be a short campaign like many political…Continue Reading

Restoring The Sacred The High Drama Of Palm Sunday

By JAMES MONTI As we advance through the later days of Lent, it is certainly not too soon to begin turning our attention to the days for which we are preparing, beginning with Palm Sunday, the great portal to Holy Week. Palm Sunday is one of the solemnities of highest drama in the liturgical year.…Continue Reading

The Pelosi Principle

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: This column was released March 15, one day before the House Budget Committee narrowly approved the Republican health-care bill.) + + + Suppose the federal government confiscated 90 percent of the income of every private sector worker who earned more than the poverty level. Then suppose the government used…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Eucharist: Sacramental Sacrifice

By DON FIER Part 4 As we continued our consideration of the Holy Eucharist as a sacramental sacrifice last week, we saw that this most august “Sacrament of sacraments” is not only a sacrificial memorial (making present) of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross on Calvary, but “is also the sacrifice of the Church” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n.…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. In a recent reply, you essentially condemn suicide bombers to Hell. However, if a person really believes in the righteousness of something strong enough to die for it, even if it is objectively evil, is he not acting in good conscience? The Church has never declared that a particular person is in Hell, not even Judas. — T.F.B., California.…Continue Reading

Die To Sin And Live In Righteousness

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fifth Sunday Of Lent (YR A) Readings: Ezek. 37:12-14 Romans 8:8-11 John 11:1-45 As we draw near to the end of Lent, there is more that is removed from our senses when we come to Mass. The statues are covered, the music is supposed to be more solemn, the Mass itself is more simplified; everything is…Continue Reading

Sermon XXXIX: On Lent I

By POPE ST. LEO I (AD 390-461) (Editor’s Note: This sermon was delivered during the Lenten fast by Pope Leo the Great, whose date of birth is cited as AD 400 as well as AD 390. This is a translation of a sermon from Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, Second Series: volume XII, in the public domain. We have generally…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Contraception Dooms Secularism While Religion Grows

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Is the Trump victory, with the accompanying new wave of sexual morality and respect for life, the first hint of a societal sea change born, ironically, of contraception? It turns out that religious people have more babies and thus pass on the faith while secularists are self-obsolescing. It’s “news” that seculars are dying out because…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Toribio Alfonso De Mogrovejo

By CAROLE BRESLIN Those who wish to attack the Catholic Church usually bring up two “weapons”: the Crusades and the Inquisition, which started in the Middle Ages. The Spanish Inquisition had the most just procedures and did not exile the Jewish people the way England (in 1290) and France (in 1306) did. In the late 16th century, King Philip II…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. José Gabriel Del Rosario Brochero

By CAROLE BRESLIN At the tip of the South American continent lies one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with its towering Andes Mountains, lush valleys, beautiful plateaus, and colorful glaciers. (Los Glaciares National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Andes Mountains.) Argentina, the eighth largest country in the world, established its nationhood in the…Continue Reading