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John of Nepomuk

St. John of Nepomuk

Born: c.1345

Died: March 20, 1393

Canonized: March 19, 1729 by Pope Benedict XIII

Feast Day: May 16

Patron Saint of: discretion, floods, slander

John Wolflin was born in Nepomuk, Bohemia around 1345. He was educated at the Universities of Prague and Padua, was ordained in 1380 and became vicar-general to the Bishop of Prague, John of Genzenstein, in 1387. King Welceslas IV of Bohemia, Emperor of Rome, used the church for political gain and reward. On more than one occassion, John refused being named bishop, knowing full well that others were far more deserving than he. When he learned of the king's plans to reward another unworthy subject with an abbey, John moved quickly and organized the monks into electing a new abbot before King Welceslas IV's plans were even set into motion. Upon learning of this treachery, the king ordered John's death. He was burned, tied to a wheel and plunged into the River Moldau in Prague. As legend has it that on the night of John's murder, seven stars were seen over the very spot where he was drowned. Invoking John of Nepomuk when discretion is needed is based on an incorrect fable that has the reason of his death being his refusal to inform King Welceslas IV of his wife's confession.

Also known as St. John Nepomucene.