Since his death in Fribourg in 1597, the Jesuit Pierre Canisius has rested at St. Michael’s college, which he founded.
Canonized in 1925, “the second apostle of Germany,” whose relics are currently located in a recumbent statue in St. Michael’s Church, remains inaccessible to the faithful. The building is no longer used for worship and is regularly closed or occupied by cultural events, informs a press release from the Jesuits of Switzerland dated September 29, 2020.
The transfer of the mortal remains of the Dutch Jesuit to St. Nicholas Cathedral will take place during the year 2021. The aim is to restore devotion to St. Peter Canisius in St. Nicholas Cathedral, where the saint preached very regularly .
The creation of a new reliquary was entrusted, among the fifteen projects submitted to the members of the jury, to Fribourg artists Frédéric Aeby and Marc-Laurent Naef. Unfortunately, if one can speak of originality, it seems difficult to qualify the project as beautiful.
In St. Nicholas Cathedral of Fribourg, the relics of St. Peter Canisius will be placed alongside those of St. Nicolas of Myra, patron of Fribourg, and those of St. Nicolas de Flüe, father of the country.
The translation will coincide with the 500th anniversary of the birth of Peter Canisius in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, in 1521.
St. Peter Canisius was chosen as patron of the future Jesuit Province of Central Europe (ECE) which will bring together religious from Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Lithuania, and Latvia, beginning in April 2021.
He entered the Society of Jesus on May 8, 1543 after having met Pierre Favre, companion of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Ordained a priest in June 1546, he spent his life combating Luther’s influence in the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland through tireless preaching and his writings.