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Friday, 7 April 2006

St Peter Canisius

Just finished reading James Broderick's comprehensive biography of St Peter Canisius. Sadly, many people have never heard of this indefatigable apostle of the counter-reformation in Germany (and Holland, Austria, Poland, Switzerland etc.)

Canisius took part in the final session of the Council of Trent, wrote a several editions of a catechism for the education of ordinary people in the faith, founded several universities and colleges, was Jesuit provincial with some extraordinarily difficult characters in his charge, and found time to visit and care for the poor and the sick.

He was continually embroiled in diplomatic nightmares with princes both of Church and State who failed to exercise their authority or use their means to support the work of the Jesuits who were re-evangelising in territories devastated by scandalous clergy on the one hand and the ferocious polemic of the early protestants on the other.

Broderick's life is a superb account. It is well worth reading as is his equally good account of St Robert Bellarmine. My copies of both are from disbanded libraries of religious houses so there are probably more copies out there.
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