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Fribourg, Switzerland: Tomb of St. Peter Canisius

About Saint Peter Canisius:

Born in Holland in 1521, Peter Canisius lived through an important time in the history of the Church:  the protestant reformation, which began in 1517 and spread throughout much of Europe.  During this period, due partly to poor catechesis among Catholics,  protestant evangelists were able to convince many Catholics to adopt their way of thinking.

Peter had edited and written several volumes on Church history and theology, been a delegate to the Council of Trent, and reformed the German universities from heresy.

He was sent to Vienna to reform their university there and ended up ministering to the sick and dying during a plague, which earned him the respect of the people, going so far as to wanting him to be Bishop of Vienna (as did the King…and the Pope)  but Peter fought that decision, instead staying to administer the diocese for a year.

As mentioned above  Peter wished for a Catholic catechism that would present true Catholic beliefs rather than the opinions of the protestants.   Eventually King Ferdinand himself ordered Peter and his companions to write a catechism. His friend, Father Lejay, was actually assigned to write it, being a being a better writer than Peter.  But when Father Lejay died, King Ferdinand ordered Peter to complete the work.  The first issue of the Catechism appeared in 1555 and was widely distributed, helping greatly to catechize Catholics throughout Europe.

Peter died in December 21, 1597. He was canonized a saint and declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI on May 21, 1925.  The Feast Day of Saint Peter Canisius is celebrated on December 21.

About the tomb of Saint Peter Canisius in Freibourg:

The mortal remains of Saint Peter Canisius are currently in the church of the College of St. Michael here in Freibourg but will be transferred to the Fribourg Cathedral at the end of April 2021. Also in the Cathedral are the relics of Nicholas of Myra, patron saint of the cathedral and the city, as well as Nicholas of Flüe, patron saint of Switzerland.


Note:  There is a college named after him in Buffalo, New York:  Canisius College.

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