Quick! Name a “Doctor of the Church.” Any Doctor.
We’ll venture a guess as to who you thought of: St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Jerome, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Ávila, maybe?
You probably didn’t think of St. Peter Canisius, whose feast we celebrate today—though if you did, we’re impressed, and please tell us in the comments below!
St. Peter is one of the lesser-known Doctors, but his influence upon the Church was mighty. In fact, southern Germany—known as the Catholic part of Germany—owes its faith largely to him.
Peter was born in the Netherlands only a few years after Luther’s erroneous doctrines caused an earthquake in central Europe. Peter joined the newly-founded Jesuits while a young man, earned a doctorate in theology, became a priest, founded the first Jesuit house in Germany, helped out at the Council of Trent, and worked directly under St. Ignatius of Loyola. He taught at (and founded!) several universities and worked tirelessly as a pastor, catechist, and preacher.
A man who gave many gifts to the Church, St. Peter perhaps gave us his greatest when he published his Summary of Christian Doctrine, a masterful catechism that was used for hundreds of years and became the basis for many thereafter.
It would actually fill several pages if we listed all the things St. Peter Canisius did. When asked once how he kept up his high level of activity, he simply said: “If you have too much to do, with God’s help you will find time to do it all.”
Because of St. Peter’s unfailing devotion to the Truth and his zeal for the salvation of souls, the tide of Protestantism was stemmed in southern Germany and this region held on to the Catholic Faith that was failing so terribly in other parts of northern Europe.
Work hard, pray hard, and get things done through the intercession of St. Peter Canisius and the assistance of our Be Still Weekly Agenda Pad. With the peaceful words of Psalm 46—“Be still and know that I am God”—emblazoned on the bottom, this handy notepad will remind you to keep your inner peace even in the midst of the hustle and bustle. A perfect item for the New Year! Get one for yourself and one for a friend right here at The Catholic Company!