With sincere apologies to St John of Kant for the late acknowledgement, but your Feast Day falling on December 23 takes a back seat to the birth of a baby in two days (thanks to SJK grad Loretta Nowicki for the reminder!).
THE LIFE OF SAINT JOHN KANTY
St. John Kanty receives his name from his birthplace, Kant, near Oswiecim in Poland. His parents were country folk of respectable position and, seeing that their son was as quick and intelligent as he was good, they sent him to the University of Kracow.
John made good in the big city and the University. After his studies he was ordained a priest and became a professor of theology. After being ousted by rivals from the University he was sent to be a parish priest at Olkusz. An extremely humble man, he did his best, but his best was not to the liking of his parishioners and besides, he was afraid of the responsibilities of his position. But in the end he won the people’s hearts. After some time he returned to Krakow.
St. John’s second appointment at the University, which he held until he died, was as professor of Sacred Scripture, which he taught for the remainder of his life. He left such a reputation that his doctoral gown was long used to invest each candidate at the conferring of degrees, but his fame was not all confined to academic circles. He was a welcome guest at the table of the nobility (once his shabby cassock caused the servants to refuse him admission, so he went away and changed it. During the meal a dish was overturned on the new cassock. “No matter,” he said, “my clothes deserve some dinner because to them I owe the pleasure of being here at all.”).
John was a serious and humble man and well known to all the poor in Kracow for his kindness. His goods and money were always at their disposal, and time and again they literally “cleaned him out.” John’s own needs were few: he slept on the floor, never ate meat, and when he went to Rome he walked all the way and carried his luggage on his back. He was never weary of telling his students to “fight all false opinions, but let your weapons be patience, sweetness and love”.
There is a story told that once when John was dining, a famished looking beggar passed the door. John jumped up and carried out all his food to the man; when he returned to his seat he miraculously found his plate again full.
Several miracles were reported of St. John, and when news got around the city that he was dying, there was an outburst of sorrow. “Never mind about this prison which is decaying” he said to those who were looking after him, “but think of the soul that is going to leave it.” He died on Christmas Eve 1473, at the age of eighty three. St. John Kanty was canonized in 1767.
When Saint John Kanty’s feast day was first inserted into the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints in 1770, it was initially assigned to October 20, but in 1969 it was moved to December 23, the day before the anniversary of his death, which occurred on Christmas Eve, 1473.