Denver, Colo., Jun 10, 2012 / 06:07 am
On June 16 the Catholic Church celebrates the memory of Saint John Francis Regis, a 17th-century French Jesuit known for his zealous missionary efforts and his care for the poor and marginalized.
In a 1997 letter to the Bishop of Viviers, Blessed John Paul II commemorated the fourth centenary of St. John Francis Regis' birth, honoring him as a "lofty figure of holiness" and an example for the Church in the modern world.
"In less than 10 years of ministry, this saintly Frenchman succeeded, with God's help, in leading back to Christ an immense crowd of men, women and children of all ages and walks of life," the Pope recalled. He urged the faithful to imitate the saint and "put themselves in God's hands with total trust."
Born in 1597, John Francis Regis was the son of a wealthy merchant father and a mother descended from nobility. As a boy he was sensitive, devout, and eager to please his parents and teachers. Educated by Jesuits from the age of 14, he entered the Society of Jesus in December of 1616.