St. Peter Canisius
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Saint Petrus Canisius (May 8, 1521 – December 21, 1597) was an important Jesuit who fought against the spread of Protestantism in Germany, Austria, Bohemia, and Switzerland. St. Peter Canisius is honored as a Doctor of the Church for his heroic defense of Catholicism through teaching, preaching and writing catechisms.The restoration of Catholicism in Germany after the Reformation is attributed to his work. St. Peter became canonized and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1925. His feast day in the Roman Catholic Church is April 27 or December 21.
He was born Peter Kanis in Nijmegen in the Duchy of Guelders (until 1549 part of the Holy Roman Empire, now in the Netherlands). In the University of Cologne, he met Peter Faber, one of the founders of the Society of Jesus. Canisius became the first Dutchman to join the Jesuit order in 1543.
Through his work in the order he became one of the most influential Catholics of his time. He supervised the founding and maintenance of the early German Jesuit Colleges, often with little resources at hand. Because of his frequent travels between the colleges, a tedious and dangerous occupation at the time, he became known as the Second Apostle of Germany.
Canisius also exerted a strong influence on Emperor Ferdinand I; he tirelessly reminded Ferdinand of the imminent danger to his soul should he cede more rights to Protestants in return for military support. And when Canisius perceived a strong danger of Ferdinand's son and heir, King Maximilian, openly declaring himself Protestant, he convinced Ferdinand to threaten disinheritance should Maximilian desert the Catholic Faith.
Canisius was an influential teacher and preacher, especially through his "German catechism", a book that defined the basic principles of Catholicism in the German language and found many readers in German-speaking countries. He was offered the post of bishop of Vienna, but declined in order to continue his travelling and teachings. However, he was administrator of the Diocese of Vienna from 1554 to 1555 and main pulpit spokesman in Augsburg Cathedral from 1559 to 1568, where he performed three to four ceremonies per week. His preaching was said to have been so convincing that it attracted hundreds of Protestants back to the old faith. He was one of the main theologians at the Colloquy of Worms in 1557.
By the time he left Germany in 1580, the Jesuit order in Germany had evolved from almost nothing into a powerful tool of the Counter Reformation. Canisius spent the last 17 years of his life in Fribourg, Switzerland, where he founded the Jesuit College that became the core of today's University of Fribourg.
In recognition of his early work in the establishment of Jesuit education, there are mulitple educational institutions named for Canisius. Among them is Canisius College, a Jesuit secondary school in his hometown of Nijmegen and the alma mater of Peter Hans Kolvenbach, the current Superior General of the Jesuit order. Another Canisius College, a post-secondary school, and Canisius High School, a secondary school, are located in Buffalo, New York. Furthermore, a jesuit-run Canisius Kolleg can be found in Berlin, Germany. There is also a secondary or post-secondary complex of schools named for Canisius, Kolese Kanisius (Collegium Canisianum or Canisius College), on Jakarta, Indonesia. In 1850 they also founded the Canisius Hospital on the corner of the Houtmarkt and the Pauwelstraat in Nijmegen. In 1974 it has merged in to the Canisius Wilhelmina Hospital located at the Weg door Jonkerbos in Nijmegen. The 'Apologetische Vereniging St. Petrus Canisius' (apologetic association Petrus Canisius) was founded in the Netherlands in 1904. The purpose of this association was the defense of the Roman Catholic Church against new values of socialism and liberalism and the restoration of the society with a more Catholic way of life.
- (1555) Summa doctrinae christianae
- (1556) Catechismus minimus
- (1558) Parvus catechismus catholicorum
- Catholic Encyclopedia
- Canisius College Jakarta's official web site
- Kolese Kanisius Jakarta in Wikipedia
- Website of Canisius Kolleg Berlin, Germany (German)