|St. Peter Canisius, SJ (1521–1597)
Update: “Dutch is Clutch” indeed! Canisius squeaked past Miki by just 3 votes in the first round and then edged out Xavier by a mere 11 votes. How many more last second miracles will we see from Canisius?
Peter has been proving that there’s “no land like the Lowlands” since 1521. He was born in the Netherlands but took his “A-game” all over Germany, Austria, and Bohemia. In fact, he was the first Dutchman ever to enter the newly minted Society of Jesus in 1543. He is a Cinderella story for the ages. When the Protestant reformation was in full-court press, Canisius battled back with renowned preaching, several Catechisms, and care for plague victims… talk about a triple threat! This humble approach won the “Apostle to Germany” not only big-time street cred but many converts as well. He was canonized in 1925 for his efforts.Here’s a guy who never gives up. When Reformation theological debates were at their hottest, Canisius urged those around him to remember that argumentation would not win any admirers.
When the pressure was on he helped launch the first Catholic printing press… talk about ice cold! As if that wasn’t enough, the slipper was proven to fit this Cinderella’s foot when death came knocking at his door. He survived a near-death stroke in 1591 and lived for six more years devoted to writing and takin’ care of bidniss. He might not seem like a favorite at first glance…but Canisius has proven time and time again that “Dutch is Clutch.”
|St. Aloysius Gonzaga, SJ (1568–1591)
Update: The first round was an easy win and Roch Gonzales de Santa Cruz couldn’t handle this powerhouse and his supporters. Will Gonzaga bring an end the Canisius streak of last second miracles?
Better known to some as “Alo-Swishes” Gonzaga grew up in the lap of Italian Duchy. This classy, Mid-major knew from an early age that he would not sign with his Duke lineage. This kid began training as soldier and courtier at age 4 and by age 9 made private vow of chastity. Showing maturity early on, this scrappy instant classic gave away his inheritance in 1585 against his parent’s wishes and entered the Society of Jesus at age 17. Who’s surprised though? AG received his First Communion from St. Charles Borremeo and had St. Robert Bellarmine as a confessor… LEGACY! It took a plague to kill this shooting star in Rome in 1591.
G-zags is no prima donna but is also no stranger to the limelight. He’s comfortable with the accolades he’s earned on and off the hard court. Aloysius is the “Patron of all students and Jesuit novices” because he is a youngin…but he’s due to earn some big boy hardware any moment now. He began to cement his legacy almost immediately after his death. He was beatified 14 short years after his death and then canonized a saint in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII. We celebrate Gonzaga’s feast day on June 21st even though he is already immortal in so many ways. When the plague took his life he was 23 years old. 23… hmm. Coincidence, I think not! Greatness flows in this class act’s veins. Period.