Tuesday, December 23, 2014

St. John of Kanty: Hero of Charity, Kindness, and Humility

Today the Church celebrates the optional memorial of St. John of Kanty, priest.

St. John was born at Kanty, in the Diocese of Krakow, Poland in 1390 to Stanislaus and Anne who were pious country people. He was educated at the Academy of Krakow, where he impressed his professors and colleagues with his pleasant and friendly disposition; always happy, but serious, humble, and holy, he won the hearts of all who came in contact with him. He earned his doctorate in theology and philosophy, was ordained priest and was then appointed professor of theology at the Academy of Krakow. Shortly afterwards, he was reassigned to the Diocese of Krakow, to be a parish priest.

He was then re-appointed professor of Sacred Scripture at the Academy of Krakow, a position he held for the rest of his life. John taught his students this philosophy again and again, "Fight all error, but do it with good humor, patience, kindness, and love. Harshness will damage your own soul and spoil the best cause." He distinguished himself as an orthodox teacher of the faith, and by his piety and love of neighbor gave Christian example to his colleagues and his students.

St. John demonstrated extreme humility and charity, distributing to the poor all the money and clothes he had, retaining only what was absolutely necessary to care for himself. He slept little, and on the floor, ate very little food, and totally abstained from meat after he became a doctor. He made one pilgrimage to Jerusalem with the desire of becoming a martyr among the Turks, and four pilgrimages to Rome on foot. Durng his life he performed many miracles, which were multiplied after his death at his tomb. He died in 1473 and was canonized by Pope Clement XIII in 1767. The Roman Breviary distinguishes him with three hymns; he is the only confessor not a bishop who is honored in this way.
St. John of Kanty is the patron of Lithuania and Poland.


"What kind of work can be more noble than to cultivate the minds of young people, guarding it carefully, so that the knowledge and love of God and His holy precepts go hand-in-hand with learning? To form young Christians and citizens-isn’t this the most beautiful and noble-minded way to make use of life, of all one’s talents and energy?"

~ Saint John of Kanty

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