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Rome Reports

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Jesuits commemorate 400 years since death of St. John Berchmans

This spectacular marble relief in honor of the Immaculate Conception is one of the main works in the Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola in Rome.

Here lie the remains of one of the most fervent defenders of this dogma, who took an oath in 1620 to defend the devotion to the Immaculate Conception. The saint is John Berchmans.

Society of Jesus
“He would often say, 'If I do not become a saint when I am young, then I will never become one.' He was talking about the need to take advantage of the present moment, to live right now the way I want to live before God, and to dedicate myself to others. He would say this often. He would also repeatedly say, 'I do things as if I were doing them for the last time in my life.'”

The patron saint of Belgium found his vocation at a very early age. An outstanding student, he had to work to pay for his studies.

He stood firm through the many challenges he faced, even on his path to studying in Rome.

Society of Jesus
“The best, academically speaking, were sent to Rome. They were sent here, where we are. (This is the chapel of the Roman College.) They were sent here to study and be formed. Back then, two Jesuits living together walked from Belgium all the way here. That's over 900 miles. They passed through Paris, Lyon, the Alps, Milan and finally arrived here, where Fr. Vitelleschi welcomed them.”

Four hundred years after his death, his remains lie inside this casket in Rome. They are a key pilgrimage destination for young men being formed for the priesthood.

Society of Jesus
“At every destination to which his superiors sent him, in every small task he did, he found God. He found the way to do good for others.”

Despite never fulfilling his dream of being ordained, he lived out his desire to love and to serve, up until his final breath.

Daniel Díaz Vizzi