St. John Cantius

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St. John Cantius, Confessor

Kenty, the humble village of Silesia which witnessed the birth of St. John, owes its celebrity entirely to him. The canonization of this holy priest, who in the fifteenth century had illustrated the University of Cracow by his virtues and science, was the last hope of expiring Poland. It took place in the year 1767. Two years earlier, it was at the request of this heroic nation that Clement XIII. had issued the first decree sanctioning the celebration of the feast of the Sacred Heart. When enrolling John Cantius among the Saints, the magnanimous Pontiff expressed in moving terms the gratitude of the Church towards that unfortunate people; and rendered to it, before shamefully forgetful Europe, a supreme homage (Bulla canonizationis). Five years later Poland was dismembered. Continue reading

St. Peter of Alcantara

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St. Peter of Alcantara, Confessor

St. Peter was born in the year 1499, at Alcantara, in Spain. He became celebrated for his great piety, and the austerity of his life, and in order to distinguish him from other Saints of the same name, received the surname, “of Alcantara.” Besides other signs of future holiness, Peter, when only seven years of age, evinced so great a love for prayer, that he sometimes forgot to eat and drink. During the time of his studies he kept his innocence unspotted in the midst of many dangers, by making prayer, the holy Sacraments, and penances, its guardians. When hardly sixteen years old, he secretly left his father’s house and entered the Franciscan Order, in which he soon became a model of all virtues. After having finished his novitiate, he was charged with different functions, all of which he discharged most successfully. The office of preacher was the most agreeable to him. An incredible number of hardened sinners were converted by his sermons, in which he treated of penance and a reform of life. The fame of his virtues and holiness gave additional weight to every word he uttered. Especially admirable were the untiring zeal with which he practised all manner of bodily austerities, and his continual communion with God in prayer. His whole life was one of extraordinary and almost unexampled mortification. He guarded his eyes so closely, that he not only never looked on a woman’s face, but knew his brethren only by their voices; and after a long sojourn in the monastery, could not tell whether the choir and the dormitory were vaulted or covered with boards. Continue reading