Jean Berchmans is a Belgian Catholic saint born in 1599 in Diest. He is known for his life devoted to religion, in particular for his commitment as a Jesuit. He is also revered as the patron saint of students due to his passion for teaching.
As a young man, Berchmans showed great interest in religion and studied philosophy and theology at the University of Louvain. In 1616 he became a novice with the Jesuits and was sent to Rome to continue his studies. Berchmans showed a talent for teaching and worked with children, teaching catechism to city children.
Sadly, Berchmans died in 1621 at the age of only 22, from an illness contracted while working with the poor. However, his short life left a lasting impression. He was known for his devotion to religion and his exemplary life as a Jesuit. His devotion to study and teaching inspired many students and earned him the title of patron saint of students.
Jean Berchmans' life was marked by his love and devotion to religion, his commitment to the poor and the sick, as well as his talent for teaching. His life example continues to inspire many Catholics, especially students who seek to draw closer to God while pursuing their studies. Furthermore, his canonization in 1888 confirmed his status as patron saint, adding official recognition to the affection and veneration held for him by believers.
After his death in 1621, his remains were interred in the Church of St. Ignatius in Rome, where he had been ordained.
Over the years, the importance of Saint John Berchmans as the patron saint of students became more widely recognized, and many Catholics began to seek to connect with him by visiting his tomb in Rome. In 1865 relics of Berchmans were sent from Rome to Belgium to be venerated in churches and chapels dedicated to the saint. Since then, the relics have been venerated by thousands of believers around the world.
The relics of Saint John Berchmans include his bones, clothing he wore when he was alive, and items related to his life and work. Relics are often displayed in chapels or churches that are dedicated to Berchmans or that have a special affiliation with the Society of Jesus. Believers go on pilgrimage to pray before the relics and ask for the intercession of the saint.
In 2007, a new reliquary was created for the remains of Saint John Berchmans, which had previously been kept in a silver reliquary dating from the 18th century. The new reliquary is in gilded bronze and was designed by the Belgian sculptor Paul Van Hoeydonck. It depicts the saint in prayer, with symbols representing his work with children