ST. JOHN BERCHMANS


ST JOHN BERCHMANS the patron saint of our college, is regarded as a model of excellence and holiness for students. He was born in the town of Diest in Flanders on March 13, 1599. His father was a poor shoemaker. John Berchmans had to discontinue his studies. He was sent as a servant to the household of one of the cathedral canons, where he could also attend the classes at the archiepiscopal seminary. His aim was to become a Jesuit priest. What distinguished John Berchmans the most from his companions was his piety. When he was barely seven years old, he already had the habit of rising early and serve two or three Masses with the greatest fervor.

In 1615 he enrolled in the Jesuit College at Malines. A year later he joined the novitiate. He was an enthusiastic student and an excellent actor and orator. He has been described as a young man of exemplary life, of pure conscience and of great perfection. John Berchmans could not complete his studies. He died of a contagious disease on August 13, 1621. He was beatified by Pius IX in 1865 and canonized by Leo XIII in 1888. His spiritual doctrine was that sanctity consists less in unusual dramatic actions than in the loving practice of fidelity to God in day to day living. This appreciation of the value of ordinary things is the distinctive mark of his sanctity.
He expressed his way of perfection in the phrase 'Maximi facere minima' (Set great store on little things). St John Berchmans is remembered today for his studiousness, faithfulness to the rules of his order, the holiness of his life and his devotion to the Eucharist and to the Virgin Mary.