Philipp Jeningen was born in 1642 in Bavaria and exercised
his priestly ministry as an itinerant preacher, mostly in that same region of
Germany. For many years, he was attached to the Jesuit basilica in Ellwangen. That
is where he died and was buried in 1704.
This is the second time in this month of July that a
Jesuit has been officially recognised as “Blessed” by the Church. On 2 July it
was Father Solinas, a missionary from Sardinia who was martyred in 1683 in the
Jesuit missions of northwest Argentina. Now, on 16 July, it is a German Jesuit,
a man dedicated to the spiritual well-being of the many people he met in the
‘missions’ he gave throughout Bavaria. This beatification adds another festive
moment as the Ignatian Year comes to an end.
The Provincial Superior of the Central European
Province, Fr Bernhard Bürgler, wrote the following: “Father Philipp Jeningen’s
life was entirely in accord with the spirituality of the Spiritual Exercises of
Ignatius. He was thus able to help many people be renewed by God in their
lives. Thanks to his simple language, his edifying lifestyle and his
philanthropy, he had a great influence everywhere he went. People felt that he
believed what he said and - perhaps more importantly - that he demanded nothing
of them that he did not demand of himself.”
desire to join the Jesuits was already firmly anchored in Philipp at the age of
14, but determined opposition from his parents forced him to wait seven years.
When his father, recovering from a serious illness, changed his attitude,
Philipp entered the novitiate in 1663. After his studies, he first taught in
colleges, and in 1680 he began his missionary activity in Ellwangen, where he
was put in charge of a chapel dedicated to Our Lady. His presence attracted
many pilgrims, and he obtained permission to build a church in Schönenberg.
This church soon became a Marian shrine at a time when such spiritual centres
were rare in Germany.