St. John Cantius was born in June of 1390 in Kęty, Poland. He died in Krakow in 1473, where he was buried under the church of St. Anne. He was canonized by Pope Clement XIII in 1767. St. John Cantius’ feast day is celebrated on December 23. He is the patron saint of Poland, Lithuania, and students.
John was the son of Stanislaus and Anne, who were pious country people. He received his primary education in his native town, and being a talented student, continued his education at the Academy of Krakow, known today as the Jagiellonian University. He impressed his professors and colleagues with his pleasant and amiable disposition: always happy but serious, humble, and Godly. John won the hearts of all who came in contact with him.
Having made excellent progress in the study of philosophical and theological sciences, he was graduated with his bachelors, masters and ultimately his doctorate from the Academy. He was ordained a priest and appointed professor of theology at the Academy of Krakow. He was a popular parish priest for a brief time in the town of Olkusz near Krakow, but his love of education eventually called him back to being a teacher. John was reappointed professor of Sacred Scripture at the Academy of Krakow, where he held the position until his death.
Extreme humility and charity were prominent in his life. John’s mottos included:
Conturbare cave: non est placare suave,
Infamare cave; nam revocare grave.
Beware disturbing: it’s not sweetly pleasing.
Beware speaking ill: for taking back words is burdensome.
John distributed all the money and clothes he had to the poor, keeping only what was absolutely necessary to support himself. He slept little and on the floor, ate very sparingly, and was a total abstainer from meat after he became a doctor. John made one pilgrimage to Jerusalem with the desire of becoming a martyr among the Turks, and four pilgrimages to Rome on foot.
During his life, John performed various miracles. After his death, the miracles continued and multiplied. Pilgrims still visit his tomb at the Church of St. Anne in Krakow regularly.
Based on the text written by J. Godrycz. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. Published 1910.