St John Cantius
St. John Cantius, priest and confessor, who fell asleep in the Lord on the 24th of December.
The Collect for his Feast from the Roman Breviary:
Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God : that, after the example of blessed John thy Confessor, we may so advance in the knowledge of the Saints, and likewise so learn to shew mercy to all men ; that by his merits we may be counted worthy to attain thy pardon. Through.
The Lessons for his feat from the Roman Breviary:
John was the son of godly and respectable parents named Stanislaus and Anne, and was born in the town of Kenty, a place in the diocese of Krakow in Poland, from which he took the Latin name of Cantius. By his gentleness, innocency, and seriousness he gave great hopes even from his childhood. He studied Philosophy and Theology in the University of Krakow, wherein he rose step by step to be a Professor and teacher of those sciences wherein he lectured many years, not only enlightening the minds of his hearers, but stirring up in them all godliness, instructing them by ensample as well as by word. Having taken Priests' orders, he ceased not to busy himself with letters, but added thereto the striving after Christian perfection. He grieved exceedingly that God should be offended on all hands, and offered up to him, day by day, not without many tears, the Unbloody Sacrifice for a propitiation for himself and for his people. He was for some years a faithful Parish Priest at Olkusz, but after a while gave it up for fear of the danger of souls, and accepted the call of the University to take up again his Professorship.
What time was left him over from his work, he gave up partly to the profit of his neighbour, more especially in preaching, and partly in prayer, wherein he is said sometimes to have had heavenly visions and messages. The sufferings of Christ took such hold upon him, that he sometimes passed whole nights without sleep in thinking thereon, and that he might more keenly realize them, he made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. There he was seized with such a passionate longing to be a martyr, that he preached Christ crucified even to the Turks. He went four times to Rome to the thresholds of the Apostles, on foot, and laden with a wallet, partly to do honour to the Apostolic See, for which he had a great reverence, and partly (to use his own expression) that he might clear off the pains of his own purgatory by use of the Pardons for sin which are there daily offered. In one of these journeys he was set upon by highway robbers, who plundered him, and having asked him if he had any more, whereto he answered, Nay, left him and fled. Then he remembered that he had some gold pieces sewn up in his clothes. So he ran after the robbers with shouts, and offered them these also, but they were so amazed at the simplicity and charity of holy man, that they gave him back even that which they had already taken. To hinder scandal-mongering, he wrote up upon the walls, after the ensample of holy Augustine, certain texts, to be an unceasing warning to himself and others. He gave his own bread to the hungry, and clothed the naked, not with bought raiment only, but by stripping himself of his own garments and shoes, himself meanwhile letting down his own cloak to trail upon the ground, lest any should see that he returned home barefoot.
He slept very little, and that upon the ground ; his clothing was enough only to clothe his nakedness, and his food to keep him alive. He kept his virgin purity guarded like a lily among thorns by rough haircloth, scourging, and fasting. For about thirty-five years before his death he never tasted flesh-meat. At length, when he was full of days and good works, he felt that death was near, and made himself ready to meet it by a long and careful preparation, and to be the freer, he gave to the poor everything that was left in his house. Strengthened by the Sacraments of the Church, and having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, he took flight to heaven upon the 24th day of December. He was famous for miracles both before and after his death. His body was carried into the University Church of St. Anne, hard by his dwelling, and there honourably buried. The popular reverence and the crowds around his sepulchre grew greater day by day, till he hath come to be held in honour as one of the chiefest holy defenders of Poland and Lithuania. At the glory of more wonders, Pope Clement XIII, upon the 16th day of July, in the year 1767, with solemn pomp, enrolled his name among those of the Saints
His biography from the Catholic Encyclopædia.