ST PETER CANISIUS, CONFESSOR, AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH – MEMORIAL: DECEMBER 21
Peter Canisius was born at Nijmegen in the Netherlands. He entered the Society of Jesus and immediately commenced defending the Catholic faith against the reformers by giving missions and sermons, and writing books. It is almost impossible to describe how he suffered for more than forty years, intent only on increasing God’s glory. He was at the Council of Trent several times, travelled throughout Germany, and helped all men, publicly and privately, by his teachings.
HE HELPED ALL MEN, PUBLICLY AND PRIVATELY, BY HIS TEACHINGS
He protected many cities and provinces from heresy or restored those in error to the Catholic Faith. St Ignatius made him superior of the upper province of Germany, where he founded many houses and colleges. He wrote two excellent books against the Centuriators of Magdeburg and published a Catechism of Christian doctrine thoroughly approved by theologians and long popular use, as well as many other works in the vernacular. For all this he is called the Hammer of the Heretics and the Second Apostle of Germany. At seventy-seven, he died at Fribourg [Freiburg] in Switzerland, December 21, 1597. Pope Pius XI canonised him and at the same time declared him a Doctor of the Universal Church.
O God, who strengthened blessed Peter, your Confessor, with virtue and learning for the defence of the Catholic faith, graciously grant that by his example and counsels the erring may be restored to salvation, and the faithful persevere in confession of the truth. Through our Lord…
– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964 [titles in bold added afterwards]