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January 13, 2017

The life of Blessed Peter Donders

Blessed Peter Donders, C.Ss.R.

Feast day: January 14

Peter Donders was born in Tilburg, Holland, on October 27, 1809, and as a boy he felt called to the priesthood. His family was poor, and his schooling was cut short so that he could learn weaving, which was his father's trade. At the age of 22, he entered St. Michael-Gestel Seminary. Ordained a priest on June 5, 1841, Peter set out for Paramaribo, Suriname, a Dutch colony.

For 14 years he ministered to the city's 2,000 Catholics, and regularly visited the plantation slaves, the military garrisons, and the indigenous people who lived along the rivers. In 1856 he volunteered to minister to people with leprosy at Batavia, where he stayed for the next 28 years.

In 1866 he joined the Redemptorists, professing his vows on June 24, 1867. These vows gave him a more vivid sense of the apostolic missionary community, and he left Batavia more often to minister to other pastoral needs.

Peter died among his lepers on January 14, 1887. He was mourned as their benefactor and invoked as a saint. Pope John Paul II beatified him on May 23, 1982. He is buried in Batavia, Suriname.

Watch a short video about his life:



Who are the Redemptorists?

Two thousand years ago Jesus said, “He sent me to preach the Good News to the poor.” Since 1732 the Redemptorists have followed in His footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned. Our congregation of missionary priests and brothers was founded by St. Alphonsus Liguori. Like the first Apostles, our mission—and our joy—is bringing the message of salvation to all people. As Redemptorists, we have a special devotion to crib, cross, Mary, and the Eucharist. To learn more, explore our website and connect with us on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.

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