December 21: Peter Canisius
Peter, a Dutch man, was born in 1521. His father wanted him to be a lawyer. To please him, young Peter began to study law before he had finished all his other studies. Soon enough, however, he realized that he would never be happy in that life. About that time, people all over were talking about the wonderful preaching of Blessed Peter Faber. He was one of the first members of the Jesuit order. When Peter Canisius listened to him, he knew he, too, would be happy serving God as a Jesuit. So he joined the order. After more years of study and prayer, he was ordained a priest.
The great St. Ignatius soon realized what an obedient and zealous apostle St. Peter Canisius was. He sent him to Germany where Peter labored for forty years. It would be hard to name all St. Peter Canisius' great works, prayers and sacrifices during that time. His concern was to save many cities of Germany from the heresies of the day. He also labored to bring back to the Catholic Church those who had accepted false teachings. It is said that he traveled about twenty thousand miles in thirty years. This he did on foot or on horseback. In spite of all this, St. Peter Canisius still found time to write many books on the faith. He realized how important books are. So he made a campaign to stop bad books from being sold. And he did all he could to spread good books to teach the faith. The two catechisms St. Peter Canisius wrote were so popular that they were printed over two hundred times and were translated into fifteen languages.
To those who said he worked too hard, St. Peter Canisius would answer, "If you have too much to do, with God's help, you will find time to do it all." This wonderful saint died in 1597. He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI in 1925.
"I asked to be made wholly clean by you, to be clothed by you, to be made resplendent by you."