A life-changing meeting

A Dutch Jesuit, Canisius was known for the restoration of the Catholic Church in much of Germany after the Reformation.

He was born in 1521 in Nijmegen, the son a wealthy magistrate. At 19, he earned a masters from the University of Cologne. There he met Peter Faber, one of the founders of the new Society of Jesus. Through Faber, Canisius would become the first Dutchman to join the order in 1543.

Religious passions

Establishing the first German-speaking Jesuit college, Canisius became known as the Second Apostle of Germany (the first being Boniface) because of his frequent travels from Catholic college to college. This was a dangerous job when religious passions were at their height.

A skilled teacher and preacher, he produced a “German catechism” which had a huge influence on the German-speaking public.

Turning down the bishopric of Vienna in order to continue travelling, he attended the Colloquy of Worms in 1557. He then served as the preacher at Augsburg Cathedral, managing to reconvert hundreds of Catholics who had recently gone over to Protestantism.

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