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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

"We are being changed into His likeness from one degree of glory to another"

(2 Cor 3:18


- Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month


Saint John Berchmans
Feast Day - August 13

John Berchmans was born on 13 March 1599, in the city of Diest situated in what is now the Belgian province of Flemish Brabant. The son of a shoemaker, his parents were John Charles and Elizabeth Berchmans. He was the oldest of five children and at baptism, was named John in honour of St. John the Baptist. He grew up in an atmosphere of political turmoil caused by a religious war between the Catholic and Protestant sections of the Netherlands.

When he was age nine, his mother was stricken with a long and serious illness. John would pass several hours each day by her bedside. He studied at the Gymnasium at Diest and worked as a servant in the household of Canon John Froymont at Malines in order to continue his studies. John also made pilgrimages to the sanctuary of Scherpenheuvel, a few miles from Diest.

In 1615, the Jesuits opened a college at Malines (Mechelen) and John Berchmans was one of the first to enrol. Immediately, when he entered, he enrolled in the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin. When John wrote his parents that he wished to join the Society of Jesus, his father hurried to Mechelen to dissuade him and sent him to the Franciscan convent in Mechelen. At the convent, a friar who was related to John, also attempted to change his mind. Finally as a last resort, John's father told him that he would cease all financial support if he continued with his plan.

Nevertheless, on 24 September 1616, John Berchmans entered the Jesuit novitiate. He was affable, kind, and endowed with an outgoing personality that endeared him to everyone. He requested after ordination to become a chaplain in the army, hoping to be martyred on the battlefield.

On 25 September 1618, he made his first vows and went to Antwerp to begin the study of philosophy. After a few weeks, he set out for Rome, where he was to continue the same study. After journeying three hundred leagues by foot, with his belongings on his back, he arrived at the Roman College to begin two-years of study. He entered his third year class in philosophy in the year 1621.

Later, in August 1621, the prefect of studies selected John Berchmans to participate in a discussion of philosophy at the Greek College, which at the time was administered by the Dominicans. John opened the discussion with great clarity and profoundness, but after returning to his own quarters, was seized with the Roman fever.

His lungs became inflamed and his strength diminished rapidly. He succumbed to dysentery and fever on 13 August 1621, at age twenty-two years and five months. When he died, a large crowd gathered for several days to view his remains before burial in Sant'Ignazio Church, and to invoke his intercession.

That same year, Phillip-Charles, Duke of Aarschot, sent a petition to Pope Gregory XV to gather information with the intent of beatification of John Berchmans. St. Aloysius of Gonzaga was his spiritual model and he was influenced as well by the example of the Jesuit English martyrs.

It was his realistic appreciation for the value of ordinary things, a characteristic of the Flemish mystical tradition, that constituted his holiness. He had a special devotion to the Mother of God; and to him is owed the Little Rosary of the Immaculate Conception.

He is the patron saint of altar servers, Jesuit scholastics and students.

Divine Updates


Divine comes to Chennai with the 'Magnificat', on November 16, 2019. Fr Augustine Vallooran will lead the services. With special sessions for children.

Venue: Stella Maris College, Cathedral Road

MAGNIFICAT in Bangalore

Celebrate an evening with our Lord in Bangalore, at the 'Magnificat' on November 9, 2019. Services to be led by Fr Jacob Arimpur. All are welcome.

Venue: St. Joseph's Boys' School Chapel, Museum Road, Bangalore

Retreats in Divine Retreat Centre, UK

Divine Retreat Centre, Ramsgate UK, is holding several English and Malayalam language retreats - led by Fr. George Panackal VC and Fr. Joseph Edattu VC. All are welcome.

Dates: Jan - Dec, 2019

Inner Healing Retreat for Priests & Religious

Divine Retreat Centre is organising a retreat for priests and religious - to be held in November, 2019. Please spread the word. Prior registration is not required.

Date: Nov 24 - 29, 2019

Hindi Convention Ojas 2020

The Divine Retreat Centre will conduct our 10th annual Hindi convention, in 2020. Two retreats will be held simultaneously on the campus; one for adults and another for couples and youth. All are welcome.

Date: May 31 - June 5, 2020

Retreats at the Divine Retreat Centre, Sydney

Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby to hold retreats throughout 2019. For bookings, email Fr Roni George, Director - or Hurry, as admission is limited.

Date: January 2019 - December, 2019

Divine Retreat Schedules


English retreats are held every week from Sunday to Friday. Special retreats are conducted for priests, religious and laity as well. Come and experience the Lord and grow in Him.


Inner healing retreats, growth retreats, couples' retreats and youth retreats in Malayalam, are led by Vincentian priests.


Retreats in Konkani, Kannada, Tamil, Hindi and Telugu

Every week, retreats are held in five different regional languages of India, apart from in the local language - Malayalam. The retreats are led by Vincentian priests and supported by powerfully anointed laity of God.

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