December 21

St. Peter Canisius

St. Peter Canisius

Peter Canisius is also known as Peter Kanis. He was born on 8 May 1521in Nijmegen (now it is in the Netherlands). He was an acclaimed DutchJesuit Catholic priest.

He was soon known for his support during the Protestant reformationtowards the catholic faith. He was a devotional and unflagging person.

His famous saying goes as, “If you have too much to do, with God’shelp, you will find time to do it all.”

He was revered in catholic churches as a saint of the church and as thechurch’s doctor. He preached, reanimated, and reformed manyuniversities. He also wrote many books.


Peter’s father was well-off Burgermeister, and his mother died soonafter his birth. He was 19 years old when he went to study at theUniversity of Cologne. He completed his master’s degree there in 1540.

In 1543 Peter met, Peter Faber and through him, he joined the Society ofJesus that was newly established. Under the supervision of Faber, he didspiritual exercises, and soon he decided to become a Jesuit.

He also preached in the city, and he taught in universities because ofhis recurrent travels between colleges and universities, which weretiring and unsafe at that time. He came to be known as the SecondApostle of Germany.

He had a strong influence on Emperor Ferdinand I. as the king’s son onthe office of court preacher appointed Phaser, who was a married priest.Canisius opposed him both verbally and on paper. As a result, the Phaserwas dismissed. Phaser harbored resentment against Canisius for the restof his life.

Peter attended many sessions if the Council of Trent. He was apersuasive preacher. He was also offered to be a bishop, which hedeclined. He wanted to stay as a traveler and continue his teachings andtraveling.

In 1557 he moved to Germany, at Colloquy of worms, where he continuesbeing the foremost catholic theologian. From 1559 to 1568, he served inthe Cathedral of Augsburg as a preacher, and after that, he founded theUniversity of Innsbruck in 1562.

After he left Germany, the newly built Society of Jesus was now apowerful tool. Canisius spent his last 20 years of life in Fribourg. Hemade the Jesuit, where young ones trained for university studies forgenerations.


He published his three catechisms in both Latin and German, which werehis lasting contributions, and they were widespread and became popularin the Christian religion.

In 1555, he published his book, Summary of Christian Doctrine and waswritten in easy Latin. After a year, in 1556, German was published too.

The same year his other work, Tiny Catechism for children, waspublished. After two years, An Abridged Catechism that was his mostfamous work was published too.


In 1591, when Canisius was 70 years old, he suffered a stroke that madehim partially paralyzed. Despite all that, he still continued hispreaching’s with the help of security until he died in Fribourg. He diedat the age of 76 on 21 Dec 1597.

Canisius was buried at St Nicholas church. But later, his remains weretransferred to the Jesuit College he founded and the place he had spenthis last years. The room which he used during his previous months wasalso open for reverence.

5 Interesting Facts About St. Peter Canisius

  1. Canisius’ famous saying is, “If you have too much to do, with
    god’s help, you will find time to do it all.”
  2. He was known as the Second Apostle of Germany.
  3. Peter Canisius was known as a profoundly prayerful person and
    indefatigable worker.
  4. He traveled about 2000 miles in 1557 through Italy, Austria,
    Bavaria, and Rhineland.
  5. Peter Canisius was declared the doctor of the church.

Prayer to St. Peter Canisius

Dear Doctor and Defender of the Church,to you the Master must have said:“Well done, composer of bookswhich have taught and inspired countless persons in many lands.”Help those who compose catechismsto communicate the true teachings of Christin ways that can be understood by our contemporariesso that they will be moved to follow Jesus.Amen.