Charles of Mount Argus
|Saint Charles of Mount Argus|
Photograph of St. Charles wearing the Passionist habit
|Born||11 December 1821
|Died||5 January 1893
Mount Argus, Ireland
|Honored in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||16 October 1988 by Pope John Paul II|
|Canonized||3 June 2007, Saint Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy by Pope Benedict XVI|
He was born Joannes Andreas Houben on the 11 December 1821 in the village of Munstergeleen in the Province of Limburg in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. His parents were Peter Joseph and Johanna Elizabeth Luyten Houben. He was named Joannes Andreas after his maternal uncle and godfather, but to the family he was known as Andrew. Andrew's father was a mller by trade. As a boy Andrew attended the village primary school. One of eleven children in a poor family, he was a slow learner in his youth. To those outside his family he seemed quiet and extremely shy.
When Andrew was nineteen years old he was enrolled for military service in the First Infantry Regiment. It is said that on occasion during his time as a soldier there was a disturbance in the town; the army were called out and ordered to fire. Afraid that he might hit someone, Andrew pointed his rifle the wrong way and narrowly missed shooting his superior officer. On 18 February 1845 Andrew’s period as a reserve in the army came to an end and he was formally discharged.
He joined the Passionists in 1845 at Ere in Belgium and was given the name Charles of Saint Andrew. Before his ordination, his father died. The family were so poor they couldn’t afford to go to his ordination, because of the expense of the funeral. Even happy days were lonely days. Ordained in 1850, he was sent to England in 1852. Here Fr. Charles first came in contact with the Irish who were emigrating to England in the wake of the Famine. He did parochial ministry in the Parish of St. Wilfred and neighboring areas.
In July of 1857 he was transferred to Ireland to the newly-founded monastery of Mount Argus, in Harold's Cross, Dublin. Traditionally Passionists are supposed to conduct missions and retreats and, through our preaching, spread devotion to the Passion of Christ. Charles was not a good preacher. He never really mastered the language. But it was in the Confessional and in comforting the sick that he excelled, and he was fond of the Irish. In community he was cheerful and often was heard humming the Dutch National Anthem as he walked around the house.
It was his gift of healing the sick which is most clearly remembered. Fr. Sebastian Keens told of a boy of 12 years old who lost the use of his leg and was brought to him. With no delay he called Fr. Charles and shortly afterwards found the boy walking up and down in front of the house completely cured. He became so popular with the people that the diocesan authorities, not to mention the medical profession, grew suspicious of him. Some medical doctors complained to Cardinal Cullen that he discouraged people from going to the doctor, a claim later retracted.  Other unscrupulous persons took Holy Water blessed by Fr. Charles and unbeknownst to him began to sell it throughout Ireland. In order to discourage this practice, Fr. Charles was transferred to England in 1866 and remained there for eight years.
He returned to Dublin in 1874 where he remained until his death that took place at dawn on 5 January 1893.
During his very solemn funeral that was attended by people from all of Ireland there was definite proof of the popular devotion that had surrounded him throughout his life. The Superior of the monastery wrote to his family: "The people have already declared him a saint." 
The cause of his Beatification and Canonization was introduced on 13 November 1935, and on 16 October 1988, His Holiness John Paul II proceeded with the beatification of the one whom everyone called the saint of Mount Argus. The miracle that led to his canonization was obtained through his intercession on behalf of Mr. Adolf Dormans of Munstergeleen, the birthplace of Fr. Charles, who was cured of of "perforated, gangrenous appendicitis with generalized peritonitis that was multi-organically compromising" and which cure was "not scientifically explainable". The theologian consultors and the Ordinary Congregation of Cardinals and Bishops gave their unanimous approval of the claimed supernatural aspect of the said alleged healing. Charles was canonized on 3 June 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI.
See also 
- D'arcy CP, Brian, "Doing God's Will", Herald of Hope: Reflections on the Life and Spirit of St. Charles of Mount Argud, Ovada Books
- Spencer C.P., Paul Francis, To Heal the Broken-Hearted: St. Charles of Mount Argus, 1988
- "Biography of Charles of St. Andrew", Zenit, May 29, 2007
- "Short Life of St. Charles", Passionists: St. Patrick's Province
- Biography of St. Charles on Vatican Website