Saint John Cantius


Saint John Cantius

Saint John was born at Kenty in Poland in 1403. He studied philosophy and theology at the University of Cracow with great intelligence, industry, and success, while his modesty and virtue drew all hearts to him.

After earning his degrees, he was appointed to the Chair of Theology at the university.

He inflamed his hearers with the desire of every kind of piety, no less by his deeds than by his words.

He was ordained a priest and was for a short time in charge of a parish, where he manifested great concern for the poor, at his own expense. At the University’s request, he resumed the professor’s Chair and taught there until his holy death.

He found a poor man on the snow one day, dying of hunger and cold; he clothed him in his own frock and took him to the rectory, to eat at his table.

Afterwards, for many years, every professor of the College of Varsovie was obliged, once every year, to invite a poor man to dine with him.

He made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, preaching along the way to the Turks, and hoping for the grace of martyrdom.

He went four times to Rome to visit the tombs of the Apostles and pay honor to the Holy See, desiring thereby to be spared the pains of purgatory.

He always traveled on foot, carrying his own effects.

Robbed one day by bandits, he forgot he had a few gold pieces sewn into his cloak; he soon remembered and called them back to give them to his benefactors.

They were so astonished they refused to accept the offering, and even returned to him what they had taken.

Saint John Cantius wrote on the walls of his residence some verses which showed the horror he had for the vice of backbiting or detraction, talking without cause of our neighbor’s faults.

He slept very little and often spent entire nights praying before a crucifix.

After his classes he went to pray before the Blessed Sacrament in a church. Before his death, he gave absolutely everything he still had to the poor.

He died in 1473, at the age of seventy-six years.

The purple robe which he had worn as a Doctor was religiously conserved and always given to the venerable Head of the School of Philosophy on the day of his reception; and a promise was required of the teachers there, to imitate the virtues of this beloved Saint.

He is a patron of both Poland and Lithuania; Clement XIII canonized him in 1767.

Reflection: He who orders all his doings according to the Will of God may often be spoken of by the world as simple, even stupid; but in the end he wins the esteem and confidence even of the world itself.

(SOURCE: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 12)



Commentary on the Reading of the day provided by: 
Saint Ambrose (c.340-397),

Bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church

12th Sermon on Psalm 118 ;

CSEL 62, 258

“Ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks”

God, the Word, stirs up the lazy and arouses the sleeper.

For indeed, someone who comes knocking at the door is always wanting to come in. But it depends on us if he does not always enter or always remain.

May your door be open to him who comes; open your soul, enlarge your spiritual capacities, that you may discover the riches of simplicity, the treasures of peace and sweetness of grace.

Expand your heart; run to meet the sun of that eternal light that “enlightens everyone” (Jn 1,9).

It is certain that this true light shines for all, but if anyone shuts their windows then they themselves shut themselves off from this eternal light.

So even Christ remains outside if you shut the door of your soul. It is true that he could enter but he doesn’t want to use force, he doesn’t put those who refuse under pressure.

Descended from the Virgin, born from her womb, he shines throughout the universe to give light to all.

Those who long to receive the light that shines with an everlasting brightness open up to him.

No night comes to intervene.

Indeed, the sun we see each day gives way to night’s darkness; but the Sun of justice (Mal 3,20) knows no setting for Wisdom is not overcome by evil.



“Jesus said to his disciples: “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.

Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.

Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.

And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants.”‘ – Luke 12:35-38.