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Novena to St. John Berchmans for Miraculous Healings, Altar Boys, and Reverence Before the Altar and Blessed Sacrament

There is a Shrine to St. John Berchmans in Grand Coteau, Louisiana at the Academy of the Sacred Heart. This is the site where St. John Berchmans appeared to a nun, Mary Wilson. Wilson then experienced a miraculous healing. 

The shrine was just a short walk from my Jesuit seminary. This was special since I was a Jesuit novice, and St. John Berchmans died while still a Jesuit novice. It's only fitting that Berchmans is a patron saint of Jesuit novices.   

My parish priest, Father Chris Decker, has been trying to restore reverence in our parish. Father Chris' patron saint is St. John Berchmans, so we will be undertaking the Novena to St. John Berchmans which follows. 

Who was St. John Berchmans?

St. John Berchmans was a Jesuit seminarian (novice), who died while still a young man. "If I do not become a saint when I am young," he used to say "I shall never become one." 

When John Berchmans was only seven years old, M. Emmerick, his parish priest, remarked that the Lord would work wonders in the soul of the child. John Berchmans was only nine years of old when his mother was stricken with a long and serious illness. He would pass several hours each day by her bedside and console her with a message of hope beyond his years.

Berchmans was very diligent in following the rules and Constitution of the Jesuit Order. "My penance," he would say, "is to live the common life [...] I will pay the greatest attention to the least inspiration of God." 

When he died, a large multitude crowded for several days to see him and to invoke his intercession. The same year, Phillip, Duke of Aerschot, presented a petition to Pope Gregory XV to begin his beatification. John Berchmans was declared Blessed in 1865, and was canonized in 1888. His statues represent him with hands clasped, holding his crucifix, his book of rules, and his rosary.

St. John's Miraculous Healing of Mary Frances di Monteils

Mary Frances di Monteils suffered from general paralysis. After having tried many remedies in vain, she made a Novena in honor of St. John Berchmans with some of her friends. The Novena began with a general Communion. She bound herself by vow to fast on the Vigil and to receive communion on the anniversary of his Feast (was November 26, now August 13). This she promised to do for ten years, if she obtained the favor asked for. The favor was granted on the first day of the Novena, and she was restored to perfect health. 

A Novena In Honor of St. John Berchmans 

[From the 1891 book about St. John Berchmans, Prayers in Honor of St. John Berchmans [1]] 


Oh Holy St. John Berchmans, who even from childhood did show extraordinary love for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, grant us to be tenderly devoted to these three august persons, and like thyself, to be always generous in God's services, faithful to His Holy Law, and burning with zeal for His glory; obtain for us what we ask in this novena [name here the favor you desire], and impart to us, O loving Saint, thy spirit of obedience and humility, thy great hatred of sin, thy angelical modesty and purity, so that after having imitated thee on earth, we may enjoy with thee a happy eternity. Amen. 

One Our Father, one Hail Mary, one Glory be to the Father.


Litany in Honor of Saint John Berchmans, S.J.

[This Litany is for private use only.] 

Lord have mercy on us. Christ have mercy on us. 

Lord have mercy on us. Christ graciously hear us. 

God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us. 

God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us. 

God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us. 

Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us. 

Holy Mary, pray for us

Holy Mother of God, pray for us.

Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us

St. John Berchmans, chosen son of Mary, pray for us

St. John, venerator and defender of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, pray for us.

St. John, splendor and ornament of the Sodalities of Mary, pray for us

St. John, faithful lover of heavenly things, pray for us

St. John, constant adorer of the Most Holy Trinity, pray for us

St. John, zealous promoter of the divine honor, pray for us

St. John, devout worshiper of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pray for us

St. John, devout contemplator of the five sacred wounds of Jesus, pray for us

St. John, true son of St. Ignatius, pray for us.

St. John, perfect imitator of St. Aloysius, pray for us

St. John, steadfast upholder of thy holy vocation, pray for us.

St. John, true model of humility, pray for us.

St. John, exemplar of religious modesty, pray for us

St. John, mirror of angelical purity, pray for us

St. John, strict observer of holy obedience, pray for us

St. John, ardent lover of holy poverty, pray for us

St. John, true observer of the least rule, pray for us.

St. John, enlightened director in the choice of a vocation, pray for us

St. John, perfect model of students, pray for us.

St. John, patron and model of servers at the altar, pray for us

St. John, our powerful intercessor at the throne of God, pray for us.

Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world. Spare us, O Lord. 

Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world. Graciously hear us, O Lord. 

Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world. Have mercy on us, O Lord. 

Christ hear us. Christ graciously hear us. Lord have mercy on us. 

Our Father. 

Prayer of the Church

Pray for us, St. John Berchmans. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Grant thy servants we beseech Thee, O Lord, God, to imitate those examples of innocence and fidelity in thy service by which the angelic St. John consecrated to thee the flower of his youth, through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.  

Other Prayers in Honor of St. John Berchmans


O Glorious St. John Berchmans, I most earnestly beseech and implore thee, through the love thou didst bear to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, deign to be mindful of me, a miserable sinner, before the throne of God, that I and those for whom I offer this prayer (or this Novena), may through thy merits and powerful intercession be preserved from all evil of soul and body, may advance in all virtue and good works and obtain our special requests. Amen. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be. 


O most devout Saint! Model of fervent prayer! I beg thee by thy tender devotion to the most Holy Mother of God, and to the Angelic St. Aloysius to obtain for me the grace to foster and to increase within myself a like devotion, that honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Aloysius here on earth, I may merit hereafter to praise and thank them forever with thee in Heaven. I also earnestly beg of thee to obtain for me through and with them the special grace that I ask in this Novena (name here the favor you desire), if it be for the Glory of God and the good of my soul. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father. 

O admirable Saint! mirror of modesty, of purity, of regularity, of charity and devotion! I choose thee this day as my special advocate before the Throne of God. 

Act of Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary, which St. John Berchmans Recited Daily

''Holy Mary, Mother of God and Immaculate Virgin, I choose thee this day for my Queen, Patroness, and Advocate, and I firmly purpose and resolve never to abandon thee, nor say, nor do anything against the honor which is due to thee, nor suffer those under my charge to say or do anything against thee. Receive me, therefore, I beseech thee as thy servant forever, assist me in my actions and forsake me not at the hour of my death." Amen. 

Footnotes for Novena to St. John Berchmans:


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