John Berchmans was born in Diest, Belgium, in 1599, the son of a shoemaker. For three years he studied under a parish priest who prepared boys for the priesthood. In 1615 he entered the newly-opened Jesuit College at Mechlin. A year later he entered the novitiate. He journeyed to Rome on foot in 1618 to continue his studies at the Roman College. He studied philosophy for three years. His superiors selected him to take part in a public debate, but he became ill before it had ended. As he lay on what turned out to be his deathbed, he clasped his rosary, his crucifix, and his book of rules and said, “These are my three treasures; with these I shall gladly die.” The next day, August 13, 1621, he died.
FEAST DAY: November 26
PATRON OF: Altar servers