St. John Berchmans, Patron of Altar Boys was born in 1599 in Diest, Brabant, in Flanders. As a youth, he declared, "If I do not become a Saint when I am young, I shall never become one." In 1616 he became a Jesuit novice. As a Jesuit, he practiced perfection in little things; he said, "My penance is to live the common life," and he let himself be ruled "like a baby a day old," as he himself wrote. He served Mass with such total devotion that he sometimes distracted the celebrant. He walked to Rome to study at the Roman College; at the college his talent, enthusiasm and application to study had rarely been equaled and never surpassed. His biographer says that there was always a smile playing about his mouth. In 1621 St. John Berchmans fell ill from prolonged study, from the strain of preparation for a public disputation, and from the summer heat. After four days he was asked if he had anything on his conscience; he answered, "Nothing at all." Two days later he died peacefully. Numerous miracles followed his death.