Athanasius Kircher, SJ
MALTA, 2002, Scott 1094
GERMANY, 2002 , show cancel for the 4th centenary of Kircher's birth
Athanasius Kircher was born 2 May 1602 (or 1601) at Geisa, on the Upper Rhone in Germany. In 1618 he entered the Jesuits at Paderborn, and became professor of mathematics at the Roman College, where he spent the rest of his life. The complete polymath, the "last man who knew everything," Kircher worked on the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics, ancient and universal languages, volcanoes, earthquakes and the fundamentals of geoscience, archeology, the collection of antiquities into his Museum Kircherianum still worth a visit today and much else. Among his many publications is China Illustrated, which contains a famous image of Fr. Matteo Ricci, SJ and Xu Guangqi, disciple and friend of Ricci.
Northeast of Rome, in the diocese of Tivoli, on Guadagnolo the highest peak of the Sabine hills, is the sanctuary of Our Lady of Mentorella, venerated from the earliest centuries. The basilica of the sanctuary over the centuries had fallen to ruin, and the site abandoned. But Athanasius Kircher, SJ, discovered the ruins in 1660 and raised funds to restore the shrine, the image and the cult of Our Lady there. It presently little resembles the original sanctuary but owes its architecture to Fr. Kircher. When he died his heart, as his request, was buried in the church. And so we feel it appropriate to include here below a sheet to commemorate the 1500th anniversary of the sanctuary.
VATICAN CITY, 2010, for the 1500th anniversary of the sanctuary; and its FDI cancel, Scott B5
the mini-sheet was overprinted and surcharged to raise funds for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti of January12, 2010
ITALY, 2010, a special cancel to mark the 1500th anniversary of the sanctuary
ITALY, 2011, a special cancel for the beatification of Pope John Paul II