The Catholic Defender: St. Peter Canisius,"visitor" of Jesuit foundations.


"Instruct the Ignorant" is the first Spiritual Work of Mercy that the Catholic Church is Commissioned to preach to all the nations. Jesus said, "And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."

During the aftermath of the Protestant "Reformation", much confusion was spread throughout Europe. In 1521, St. Peter Canisius was born in Holland who learned the lessons of hard work at a young age. When he was 19 years old, he earned his Masters degree from the university at Cologne. He became an authority on the lives of St. Cyril of Alexander, St. Leo the Great, and many other Saints. St. Peter was all about continuing his studies especially when it came to the Catholic Faith.

Because of his love for Jesus and the Gospels, St. Peter would serve the poor, the sick, and the prisoners taking Jesus words seriously:

"Then the King will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?" Matthew 25:34-39

In 1546 St. Peter was ordained a Priest and because of his knowledge and saintly demeanor, he was sent to take part at the Council of Trent and became a chief organizer in spreading the teaching of the great Council.

After teaching at a Jesuit college (Messina), St. Peter traveled to Germany where he established colleges and seminaries and developed an important Catechism used to reach the ignorant and common.

St. Peter became well known for his preaching, for his teaching, and for his advice. Many came from all over Europe to receive the Lord's Absolution through him. He became an Apostle of Germany bringing thousands back to the Church through his gifts in diplomacy, he was able to reconcile many back to the Church through biblical wisdom and counsel.

St. Peter held a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary as he loved Our Lord's Mother and accepted her as his own. As a noted historian, he championed Mary as Mother of God as did the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. He opposed the new doctrines of Calvin and Luther on their doctrine of "Sola Scriptura." St. Peter would say about them, "With words (teachings) like these, we don't cure patients, we make them incurable."

The Rosary was an important devotion for St. Peter, he was always seen with one on his person. something else is noted about St. Peter, he seemed to have endless energy, he was very active and he did not like to be idle. He would say, "If you have too much to do, with God's help you will find time to do it all," meaning that we really have no excuse. 1 Timothy 4:7-9 states, "Have nothing to do with godless and silly myths. Train yourself in godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance."

St. Peter believed that you could defend the truth by being loving and sympathetic towards those who were in err. In 1556, there was held at Worms a conference between Catholics and Protestants where St. Peter, through his influence, united the Catholics in their defense of the true Faith. Pope Pius IV thanked St. Peter for his intercession between the Pope and the Emperor.

From 1580 until his death in 1597 he served the Church in Switzerland spending his last six years in prayer at the college of Fribourg. St. Peter, after suffering from a paralytic seizure, died on December 21st, 1597, and pilgrims began seeking his intercession from Heaven.

Many reported miracles were attributed to his intercession.

St. Peter Canisius was canonized and declared a doctor of the church on the same day, June 21st, 1925 by Pope Pius XI.

Let my eyes take their sleep, but may my heart always keep watch for you. May your right hand bless your servants who love you.

May I be united with the praise that flows from you, Lord Jesus, to all your saints; united with the gratitude drawn from your heart, good Jesus, that causes your saints to thank you; united with your passion, good Jesus, by which you took away our guilt; united with the divine longing that you had on earth for our salvation; united with every prayer that welled from your divine heart, good Jesus, and flowed into the hearts of your saints. —Peter Canisius

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