This Saturday, 23rd December, is the (optional) Commemoration of St. John of Kanti (1390- 1473), a saint from Poland – although the liturgy of late-Advent and the eve of Christmas tends to obscure his feastday. This ‘humility’ of St. John, however, would be typical of his life and personality. Born at Kanti, near Oswiecim, of a fairly affluent family, he was educated at the University of Kraków and soon after completing this course was ordained a priest and appointed a lecturer of the university. He was successful as both a teacher and a preacher, and after a period in which for some reason he was removed from his post, he was nominated to the chair of theology. He became famous not only for excellence, but for his own extreme poverty and austerity of life, as well as for his almsgiving. He told his students to fight false opinions, but always to do so with moderation and courtesy. To this day his gown is used on degree days to vest each new doctor of the University. He died on the 24th December in 1473 aged 83. The Collect of the day expresses well our prayer: Grant, we pray, Almighty God that by the example of the priest St. John of Kanty, we may advance in the knowledge of holy things and by showing compassion to all, may gain forgiveness in your sight. Through Our Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.