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St. Maximilian Kolbe

St. John Berchman


Main Altar Frieze at St. John Berchman Cathedral, Shreveport, LA

One of the saints on the feast of the calendar today is St. John Berchman, a Belgian Jesuit scholastic who died in his twenties while studying in Rome of the "Roman fever," possibly malaria. His life was remarkable for its simple holiness and his striving for perfection, without being susceptible to some of the overly scrupulous behavior we sometimes see in young saints. The frieze depicts his Last Holy Communion, or Viaticum, shortly after which he died.


Annotation-2019-08-13-094928A chapel was erected and eventually a cathedral over the site where an American postulant nun, Mary Wilson, was cured by an apparition of John Berchman on her sickbed.  In December, 2016 the full relic of his heart was brought from Belgium to Shreveport to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the apparition - the final miracle required for his canonization. 


St. John Berchman is patron saint of altar servers, since he himself served masses as soon as was old enough, with zeal and piety.