Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Fr. John Anthony Hardon was born on June 18, 1914, in Midland, Pennsylvania. After his father died when John was just one year old, his devout mother Anna worked as a night cleaning woman and took in boarders to supplement their income.

Before his first Communion, one of the sisters told him, “Whatever you ask Our Lord on your First Communion day, you will receive.” John prayed, “Make me a priest.” After his ordination 26 years later, John said, “My first sentiment was to thank Our Lord for hearing my prayers.” At his Confirmation two years later, John asked the Holy Spirit to give him “the grace of martyrdom.” This grace gave him the courage to profess the Faith, in season and out, throughout his life.

John entered the Society of Jesus in 1936 after his graduation from John Carroll University. After his ordination in 1947, he was sent to Rome to study for a Doctorate in Sacred Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He became a sworn enemy of the “modernists” when he was asked to retrieve all of the heretical volumes that had been borrowed from the library but he learned a valuable lesson: “It taught me that the faith I had so casually learned could be preserved only by the price of a living martyrdom.”

Professing final vows in 1953, John embarked on a teaching career in colleges, universities and institutes, always a faithful son of the Church. He authored over 200 books, including The Catholic Catechism (1975) and was a consultant for the drafting of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. He wrote countless articles, conducted numerous catechetical classes for religious and lay people, developed a series of full-semester courses and was a popular speaker and retreat master as well as a spiritual director and confessor to many. He also founded the INSTITUTE ON RELIGIOUS LIFE, Marian Catechists and Eternal Life.

Father Hardon died on December 30, 2000. His cause for canonization has been opened.

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