The patron saint of altar servers, John wanted to be a priest from boyhood, when he might serve at five Masses a day in his native Flanders, now in Belgium. This son of a shoemaker began priestly studies with the Jesuits at 17. Drawn to simple devotions like praying before a crucifix and saying the rosary, he rose to the top of his class and was sent to the Jesuit college in Rome. He finished philosophy studies early, and won a debate with another college. But the day after his victory he fell ill and died at just 22, already known for his holiness in everyday living.