Here is our report on our class saint-St. John Berchmans

St. John Berchmans

St. John Berchmans was one of the most pious saints who ever lived. He was born in Diest in Brabant, Belgium on March 13, 1599. Even though he was still young, his piety set him apart from his other companions. When he was barely seven years old, he was accustomed to waking up early, go to the local church and help out in masses with great fervour. He attended religious instructions and listened to Sunday sermons with the deepest recollection, and even made pilgrimages, reciting the rosary as he went, or deeply absorbed in meditation. In fact, their priest, M. Emmerick, said that the Lord would work wonders in the soul of the child.

He was a shoemaker’s son, one of five children in the family, three of whom entered religious life. Aside from his piety, he was naturally kind, gentle and affectionate, and was popular with his playmates because of his sunny and cheerful disposition. Naturally endowed with a bright intellect and good memory, he was eager to learn and enhanced his gifts by devoting to study whenever he could spare the time apart from his duties. He spent most of his time caring for his mother, who was in poor health. Hours were spent by his mother’s bedside, consoling her with his affectionate words.

As soon as he entered the Jesuit College of Mechelen, he was enrolled in the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin, and made special acts of devotion to Mary. It was also his practice to go out barefooted every Friday and make the Stations of the Cross in town. Such fervent and filial piety won him the grace of a religious vocation.

It was after reading the life of St. Aloysius Gonzaga towards the end of his rhetoric course that he felt a distinct call to the Society of Jesus. His parents were opposed to this, but he still received his novitiate on September 24, 1616 at Mechelen. He made his first vows after two years and was then sent to Antwerp, and later to Rome, to study Philosophy. He dreamt of helping and teaching multi-lingual migrants, and he studied all the chief languages of Europe. He wanted to work in China after ordination. One day in early August of 1621, he was selected by the prefect of studies of the Roman College to participate in a public debate defending the faith. On his return to his own college, he was seized with a violent fever of unknown cause of which he died, on August 13, 1621, at the young age of 22 years and 5 months. He did not live to be ordained.

John was a saint who performed ordinary actions with extraordinary perfection. He was not noted for extraordinary feats of holiness or austerity, nor did he found orders or churches or perform flashy miracles, but he surpassed all of these with his intense love for the rules of his order. He made kindness, courtesy and fidelity an important part of his holiness. The path to holinesshess can lie in the ordinary, rather than the extraordinary.

Sources :

  • Wikipedia: John Berchmans
  • Patron Saints Index: St. John Berchmans
  • Catholic Encyclopedia: St. John Berchmans
aint John Berchmans
Jesuit Seminarian and Saint
Born March 13, 1599DiestBelgium
Died August 13, 1621 (aged 22)Rome,Italy
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified 1865
Canonized 1888
Major shrine Sant’Ignazio
Feast November 26
Attributes Often depicted with hands clasped, holding his crucifix, his book of rules, and his rosary.
Patronage Altar Servers