Fr. John Hardon (1914-2000) was an erudite and orthodox Jesuit of the old school. Although he often found himself at odds with many in his own order, Father was in great demand as a retreat master and conference leader, and his voluminous writings developed a huge following, even among popes and cardinals.
Father was a diminutive man with a soft voice, but nonetheless possessed a gifted intellect nourished by a devout prayer life. He was a tireless worker who devoted his talents to promoting authentic Catholic catechesis, Eucharistic adoration and renewal of religious life in a post-Vatican II era of confusion in the Church and a significant decline of many established religious communities, including his own.
Cardinal Raymond Burke, who served as national director for Fr. Hardon’s Marian Catechist Apostolate, initiated the priest’s cause for canonization in 2005. Hence, Father has received the title “Servant of God.” As the 16th anniversary of the death of Fr. Hardon passed on December 30, I spoke with several Catholics who knew Fr. Hardon personally, who shared their experiences and offered their thoughts as to why he is a good candidate for sainthood.
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