JOHN was born at Diest, a small town in Belgium, in 1599. Of the five children in his family, three entered the religious state. As a boy, John had a very great devotion to Holy Mass and the rosary.Prayer
When John was nine years of age, his mother became ill. As many hours of each day as could be spared from school and other duties, he helped his mother. For three years he was a student of a pastor of a parish who prepared boys for the priesthood. He entered the Jesuit novitiate in Mechlin and later traveled to Rome on foot to continue his education.
After studying philosophy for three years, he was selected by his superiors to take part in a public debate. Before the debate was ended, he became ill. During the evening of August 12, 1621, he clasped his rosary, his crucifix and the book of rules, and said, "These are my three treasures; with these I shall gladly die." On August 13 he passed away, his eyes still fixed upon his "treasures."
In 1888, Pope Leo XIII canonized him.
O God, You inspired St. John Berchmans to strive for perfect charity and so attain Your Kingdom at the end his pilgrimage on earth. Strengthen us through his intercession that we may advance rejoicing in the way of love.
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