Category Archives: Jesuit saints & blesseds

North American Martyrs

North American Martyrs.jpgThe Church in North America was built, in part, by the pouring of the blood of Jesuits and laymen in the 17th century. Men who followed Christ to a perfect end. That is, not for their glory but for the greater glory of God. Saint Paul’s 2nd Letter to the Corinthians captures this foundation well: “For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

Most of us will not be called to lay down our lives for Christ by giving our blood, but we are called to manifest in our body the love of Christ crucified and risen for our own salvation and the salvation of the entire world. How is this possible today: by not growing weary of the Gospel and the truth proclaimed by the Church, constantly keeping the name and face of Jesus in front of us, by caring for others, even those who are colossal pains, etc. In short, by living the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Do we act so as to give the Lord greater glory?
Last year’s post on the Blackrobe martyrs is here.
Saint John de Brebeuf and companions, pray for us.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola.jpgTo your Name’s own greater glory,
In the midst of worldly strife,
Came Ignatius called Loyola,
Building up your Church’s life.
That the gospel of the Savior,
With its news of endless grace
Might be brought by his companions
Unto ev’ry land and race.

Once a warrior for earth’s kingdoms,
Gravely wounded, he became
Soldier for the King of heaven,
Limping forth in Jesus’ name.
Once in Paris, he found others
Who alike heard Jesus’ call;
Soldiers, poor and chaste, obedient, 
There they gave to Christ their all.

In his living and his dying,
He has shown to ev’ryone
What it means to lose one’s own self,
How to live for Christ the Son.
May his love, which scorned all travail,
Teach us how to follow you;
May our love, in his example,
Be to Christ forever true.

To the Father, life’s own author,
To the Son, who sets us free,
To the Spirit, voice of prophets,
Three-In-One, all praises be!
From the mouth of Saint Ignatius
Comes a song of matchless praise;
All the Church, on earth, in heaven,
Joins, as now this hymn we raise.

J. Michael Thompson
Copyright © 2009, World Library Publications

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

St Aloysius Gonzaga2.jpgWho shall climb God’s holy mountain?
Stand within his holy place?
Those whose hearts are pure and lowly,
Free of guile and full of grace!
On this day, O Lord, we thank you
For your servant’s selfless life
Which he offered you with gladness,
Leaving wealth and earthly strife.

Aloysius, born as gentry,
Heard from youth your gentle call,
And, renouncing rank and riches,
Followed you and gave his all.
In the service of those sickened
By the plague, he spent himself,
Thus exhausting earthly body,
Storing up the one true wealth.

Trinity of endless mercy,
Father, Son, and Spirit blest,
With your servant Aloysius
And the host of saints at rest,
We sing forth our song of gladness
For your saints, your works of grace;
Lead us on in humble service
Till we see you face to face!

J. Michael Thompson
Copyright © 2010, World Library Publications

Saint Peter Canisius

The Roman calendar of saints lists Saint Peter Canisius’ feast day as December 21; on the Jesuit ordo his feast is observed today. 

St Peter Canisius detail.jpg

Saint Peter
Canisius is well known for his theological expertise, his teaching and preaching and the work of evangelization he did in Germany and other places where the Protestants destroyed the unity of the Church. His approach to theological engagement is noteworthy for his judgment based on prudence and charity. Saint Peter neither wanted to heighten division nor to embitter relations with the
Magisterial Reformers with intellectual engagement on the “hot button issues” because in his mind, theological
disputation only succeeded in fueling deeper resentment and hysteria toward the
Catholics and did not advance the argument and knowledge of the Truth. In a letter to his Jesuit superior, Saint Peter Canisius said:

It is
plainly wrong to meet non-Catholics with bitterness or to treat them with
discourtesy. For this is nothing else than the reverse of Christ’s example
because it breaks the bruised reed and quenches the smoking flax. We ought to
instruct with meekness those whom heresy has made bitter and suspicious, and
has estranged from orthodox Catholics, especially from our fellow Jesuits.

Thus, by whole-hearted charity and good will we may win them over to us in the
Lord. Again, it is a mistaken policy to behave in a contentious fashion and to
start disputes about matters of belief with argumentative people who are
disposed by their very natures to wrangling. Indeed, the fact of their being so
constituted is a reason the more why such people should be attracted and won to
the simplicity of the faith as much by example as by argument.

With Saint Peter Canisius, let us pray:

Let my eyes take
their sleep, but may my heart always keep watch for you.

May your right hand
bless your servants who love you. May I be united with the praise that flows
from you, Lord Jesus, to all your saints; united with the gratitude drawn from
your heart, good Jesus, that causes your saints to thank you; united with your
passion, good Jesus, by which you took away our guilt; united with the divine
longing that you had on earth for our salvation; united with every prayer that
welled from your divine heart, good Jesus, and flowed into the hearts of your
saints. Amen.

Bernardo de Hoyos beatified

Today, in Valladolid, Spain, Father Bernardo de Hoyos (1711-1735) was beatified. I previously mentioned Father de Hoyos on this blog. Here is a précis of Father Adolfo Nicolás’ letter to the Jesuits. The full text of the letter can be read here Bernard de Hoyos letter.pdf

Bernardo de Hoyos beatification poster.jpg

“He is considered the first apostle of the Sacred Heart in Spain. To recapture who he was and what he contributed, I offer some biographical information that should be understood in the religious and cultural context of the 18th century.” Thus begins Nicolás’ for this occasion. More than a century ago, in 1895, the cause for Father De Hoyos was introduced; due to many ecclesiastical vicissitudes and the political history of Spain, it was repeatedly postponed. Father Nicolás, in his letter, traces the major events in the very short life of the newly beatified who died on the 29th of November 1735 at the age of 24. Near to the time of his death, de Hoyos was ordained a priest and in Tertianship.

“His reputation for holiness,” the letter continues. “spread immediately after his death.  However, because of the difficult situation in which the Society found itself opposed by the Jansenists, the cause for beatification was not introduced at that time.  Later the suppression of the Society would leave many projects unfinished. When the Society was restored in 1814 by Pope Pius VII, a strong devotion to the Sacred Heart emerged in the whole Church. In accord with the religious sensibilities of the time, the reborn Society dedicated itself to the spread and propagation of this devotion with significant results.” The letter outlines the steps of this recovery of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, beginning with Jesuits’ General Congregation 31st  in 1965, through the generalate of Father Pedro Arrupe and then with generalate of Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach.

Then Father Nicolás goes on: “Bernardo de Hoyos’s passion for the Heart of Jesus faithfully corresponds to the devotion that Saint Ignatius felt for Jesus poor and humble, before whom he asks that our affections be moved in order to accompany Him in each step of His life: As companions with him on mission, his way is our way (GC35, D.2, nº 14), so that in what we do in the world there must always be a transparency to God (GC35, D. 2, nº 10). On the occasion of this beatification, I invite the whole Society, together with our collaborators, to renew our personal love of Jesus Christ and to open ourselves to the grace of identifying ourselves with Him, so that in Nadal’s words, we might understand with His understanding; will with His will; remember with His memory; and that our entire being, living, and doing be not centered in us, but in Christ (MHSI vol 90. p.122; GC35, D. 2, nº14), as the  cornerstone of the particular vocation to which each of us has been called.”

Father Nicolás concludes his letter: “May the Father who has hidden these things from the wise and the learned and has revealed them to the childlike (Mt 11, 25) through the intercession of Blessed Bernardo de Hoyos, grant the Society the grace of accomplishing its mission of being in the Church a loving response to Him who was pierced by the pain and the aggressive injustice of a world in need of forgiveness and reconciliation.”
May Blessed Bernardo de Hoyos show us the way to the Heart of Jesus!

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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