Saint John Berchmans, SJ
Saint of Daily Life
BELGIUM, 1965, the centenary of Berchmans' beatification and its FDI cancel, Scott 632
Special cancel from Diest on the centenary of his canonization
John Berchmans was born at Diest in the Flemish province of Brabant, Belgium in 1599, the son of a shoemaker, and one of five children. His house, recently restored, is on the stamp above. He was known for being friendly, intelligent and pious. When the Jesuits opened a college at Malines (Mechelen) in 1615, John was among the first to enter. The following year, inspired by reading a life of Aloysius Gonzaga, he entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Malines. After his first vows, he studied philosophy at Antwerp and then, chosen to continue his studies at the Roman College, he walked the thousand miles to Rome. His path to holiness was doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.
In 1621, he suddenly succumbed to dysentery and fever and died on the 13th of August, not yet twenty-three years of age. Berchmans was beatified in 1865, and canonized in 1888 with two fellow Jesuits, Alphonsus Rodriguez and Peter Claver. His feast is celebrated on November 26.
BELGIUM, 1980, Berchmans' native town Diest, Scott 1060
BELGIUM, 1962, cancel honoring newly renovated birth house of Berchmans