Peter Canisius was born in Nijmegen, Holland on May 8th, 1521. his father was a major who had a great influence in Nijmegen. Peter Canisius saw turbulence in the Christians, where four years prior to his birth, Martin Luther started his action against the Catholic Church, which was called the Church Reformation.
Peter brought region by region, city by city back to Church diligently. Therefore, it is not surprising that many Protestant priests didn’t like him. He showed that the best way to develop people’s faith was not by hating or insulting opponents, but by praying and working hard. His work was very magnificent, such as building elementary schools, colleges and seminary; teaching , preaching, and encouraging the faith of priests and bishops who faced crisis in their spiritual life.
Canisius continued his study in Köln, Germany. At the beginning, he wanted to study law because his ambition was becoming an expert in law. But he changed his mind and studied Theology. He was an outstanding student.
When he was nineteen, he earned master degree. During this time, he met Peter Faber, who became a mentor in his one-month retreat. Peter Faber apparently had a great influence in his life. Because of that, he decided to join the Society of Jesus when he was twenty two years old. Then he established the first order house in Germany. Later, he also became a well-known preacher, an activist in Council of Trent, a teacher in the first Jesuit College in Messina and a pioneer of reformation in Inglostadt University (Bavaria). Then he moved to Vienna with the same job. His influence in religious life of that city was vital.
About the bible, he said that defending Church in our own motherland is as important as spreading the wings of Church in mission country. He looked far forward so that he was interested in publishing. He realized that books and magazines had very strong influences. Therefore, he gave a great support in publishing works. He received big respect as a Church author because of his outstanding, high quality literature works. His most famous literatures were the three catechism books of Christian education for the students from three different levels. Even his catechismbooks reached two hundreds editions and were translated into twelve different languages.
Peter Canisius once also had a vision in one of his prayers about the Jesus’ Holy Heart. That is why, all of his actions and prayers were devoted especially to the Holy Heart of Jesus. One of his mottos was If you had so many things to do, with the help of God, you would be able to finish them properly. He passed away on December 21st, 1597, in a college that he built in Fribourg, Switzerland. Canisius was a great Church author and the second disciple from Germany. Peter Canisius was promoted as a blessed person in 1864 by Pope Pius IX. And, in 1925, he was announced as a Saint by Pope Pius XI. In the same occasion, he received a predicate as a Church Doctor.