Friday, August 4, 2006
St. John Vianney

Memorial (1969 Calendar): August 4
III Class (1962 Calendar): August 8
Double (1955 Calendar): August 9

The Devil told St. John Vianney, "If there were three such priests as you, my kingdom [in France] would be ruined."

St. John Vianney (1786-1859) was born in Dardilly, Lyons, France, and died in Ars, France. He was a farmhand that taught other children their prayers and catechism. St. John Vianney felt the calling to follow Our Lord as a priest, but he was not a very good student. And, with all classes still being taught in Latin, he did poorly because he was horrible at Latin. But, God guided him and St. John Vianney was ordained in 1815.

St. John Vianney was briefly assigned for a while to Ecully as a parish priest, but in 1818 he was assigned to the parish of Ars, a tiny village near Lyons, which suffered from lax attendance. St. John Vianney immediately began visiting his parishioners, especially the sick and poor. St. John Vianney would spend days in prayer and penance for his parishioners.

But, the devil did not want St. John Vianney to continue his ministry; some estimate that St. John Vianney saved 25,000 souls. And for this, the devil frequently tormented St. John Vianney when he tried to get his 2-3 hours of sleep a night.

Because of his priestly zeal, St. John Vianney has been recognized as the patron saint of parish priests. The man that barely completed his education is now the patron saint of parish priests. By 1855 there were 20,000 pilgrims a year to Ars. They came to hear him and receive the Sacrament of Confession from him. St. John Vianney heard confessions for 16 hours each day in a small confessional. St. John Vianney was also gifted with discernment of spirits, prophecy, hidden knowledge, and working miracles.

St. John Vianney died on August 4, 1859, at Ars, France, of natural causes. He was canonized on May 31, 1925. He is known as the Curé of Ars. Pope Pius XI declared him the patron saint of all diocesan priests in 1929. His body remains incorruptible. His feastday was transferred from August 9th to August 8th in 1960 to be closer to the day of his death.

Here is one conservation he had with a penitent because of his gift of discernment:

- Do you remember that you went to a ball on such-and-such occasion?
- Yes, I remember. 
- Do you remember that at a certain moment a handsome young man entered the ballroom? He was quite elegant, appeared very upright and danced with several young ladies?
- Yes, I do. 
- Do you recall that you had a great desire to dance with him?
- I recall that. 
- Do you recollect that you became sad because he didn’t ask you to dance?
- Yes, I do. 
- Do you remember that by chance you looked down at his feet and saw a strange blue light coming from them?
- Yes. I remember. 
- That young man was none other than the devil who had taken that shape to tempt several of the young women there. He was unable to approach you because you are a Daughter of Mary protected by her, and you were wearing the Miraculous Medal. 
From “Saints to Remember from January to December,” by the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

This glorious parish priest was born in eastern France, three years before the French Revolution broke out. He was a simple farmer’s boy. He received his first Holy Communion secretly in a barn when he was thirteen years of age. He later began studies or the priesthood. Because of the simple innocence of his mind, he found it very hard to pass the seminary examinations. His great devotions were to the Blessed Sacrament and to Our Blessed Lady. After months of prayer to Our Blessed Lady, he finally obtained the favor of being ordained a priest in 1815. He got encouragement to pursue his vocation to the priesthood at the tomb of Saint John Francis Regis. He was first made an assistant pastor at Ecully, and later a pastor at the little village of Ars. He stayed there for forty-one years, until he died. He is always referred to as the Cur’e of Ars. So great was his sanctity that people from all over Europe came to see him. He used to spend from sixteen to eighteen hours in the confessional every day. Heads of the State, army officers, university professors, bishops and priest, all went to him for direction. Toward the end of his life, nearly 20,000 pilgrims visited him every year. Pope Pius XI proclaimed him the patron of all parish priests. He was one of the most loved priests in the history of the Catholic Church. Everyone remembers him either as siting in the confessional or kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament or before an image of Our Blessed Mother, always with the rosary beads in his hand.
Writing Excerpts from St. John Vianney Available Online:
Highly Recommended Reading:

Almighty and merciful God, Who didst make St. John Mary wonderful in his pastoral zeal and constant prayer and penance: grant, we beseech Thee, that by his example and intercession we may be able to win the souls of our brethren for Christ, and together with them attain to everlasting glory. Through the same our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

6 comment(s):

del_button September 2, 2006 at 7:11 PM
tlwest said...

I was wondering if there is a book printed with all of his writings in it. I find his writings so refreshing, easy to understand, and full of God's love.

del_button September 2, 2006 at 9:20 PM
Matthew said...

I don't know if there is a book. I would be interested in finding one, though.

del_button March 18, 2008 at 5:13 AM
Anonymous said...

This book is probabley the best you'll ever find, I understand it was a favorite of Pope John Paul II, "The Cure' D'Ars by Abbe' Francis Trochu. I read it and have a true Love for one of our Greatest Saints St. John Vianney "The Cure' D'Ars. God Bless.

del_button August 12, 2009 at 11:29 AM
Anonymous said...

Thanks for this site -
I have been looking for a good book on his life too, I am reading a book on his eucharistic meditations
ISBN:0-940147-03-03 (usa)
ISBN:0-85650-117-4 (uk)
by Anthony Clarke.
lent to me by my Deacon, the copy is 16 year old ( bless him!)

del_button September 14, 2009 at 4:06 PM
Anonymous said...

Thank-you very much for this site.
I love to read and learn from this Saint. He is a great inspiration for us all, and we should invoke his aid for all priests.

del_button July 18, 2017 at 2:46 PM
Anonymous said...

Many thanks for this wonderful site! I revisit Fr. Vianney whenever I sense the need for another spiritual smack upside the head! Never hear these type of sermons at mass! Only recordings of Bishop Sheen compare. Blessings to you, Matthew

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