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Petrus Canisius

From Academic Kids

Saint Petrus Canisius (May 8, 1521December 21, 1597) was an important Jesuit who fought against the spread of Protestantism in Germany, Austria, Bohemia, and Switzerland.


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, Germany, now part of the Netherlands). In the University of Cologne, he met Peter Faber, one of the founders of the Society of Jesus. Canisius became the first German 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 maintanance 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 executed 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 with 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 for which he held three to four seremonies per week. He is said to have been such a convincing preacher that he brought hundreds of Protestants back to the old faith.

By the time he left Germany in 1580, the Jesuit order in Germany had evolved from virtual nonexistence to being a powerful tool of the Counter Reformation. Canisius spent the last 17 years of his life in Fribourg, Switzerland, where he founded a Jesuit College which was the foundation of today's University of Fribourg.


Works

  • (1555) Summa doctrinae christianae
  • (1556) Catechismus minimus
  • (1558) Parvus catechismus catholicorum

External links

fr:Pierre Canisius nl:Petrus Canisius

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