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"Saints of Empowered Prayer: St. John Vianney"

St. John Vianney: Also known as the Cure d'Ars, St. John Vianney was born May 8, 1786 in Dardilly, France. The spiritual revolution that he brought about in his parish at Ars was one of the marvels of nineteenth-century France. John Vianney was the fourth of six children raised in a Catholic home that helped the poor and housed St. Benedict Joseph Labre when he traveled. 

          During the anticlerical Terror phase of the French Revolution that forced priests to work in secret, John received his catechism instructions and made his first confession and First Communion in private at the age of 13. At the age of 18 he began his studies for the priesthood under the Abbe' Balley, pastor at Ecully.  

          Discouraged by his lack of scholastic ability and his failure to comprehend Latin lectures forced John Vianney to discontinue training for priesthood. He made a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. John Regis at La Louvesc and was then called up for military service. Through a strange set of circumstances, his unit left without him, and after the general amnesty of 1810 he began formal studies for the priesthood but found the subjects difficult to master. He sought private tutoring. It was a long battle with the books but John Vianney was ordained a priest at Grenoble in 1815 and was sent as an assistant to his former teacher, the Abbe' Balley.  

          In 1818 he was assigned to Ars as parish priest and remained there for the rest of his life. As pastor of Ars, John Vianney encountered people who were indifferent and quite comfortable with their style of living. He fasted and prayed, visited every family in his parish, taught catechism, and by his preaching led his people back to the practice of their religion. The chief labor of the Cure d'Ars was the direction of souls. It had not been long when people began coming to him from other parishes. His instruction was simple in language, full of imagery drawn from daily life and country scenes, but deep in faith and the love of God. In eight years he thoroughly restored religion in the parish, organized religious guilds, and fostered truly Christian homes. 

          St. John Vianney's work as a confessor is his most remarkable accomplishment. People came from all over France by the thousands to be his penitents. He was usually in the confessional most of the day. In winter months he spent 11 to 12 hours each day reconciling people with God. In the summer it increased to 16 hours. As his fame spread, more hours were consumed in serving God. Even the few hours of sleep he would allow himself were frequently times when he was harassed by the devil who for thirty years disturbed him with strange phenomena. Who but a man of vision could keep going with increasing strength.  

          Worn out by work and austerities, John Vianney died on August 4th, 1859 at the age of seventy-three. He was beatified by Pope St. Pius X in 1905 and canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1925. In 1929 he was declared the patron of parish priests. His feast day is August 4th. By hard work and prayer, and his own living example, St. John Vianney transformed his whole parish into a model Christian community. To bring about change we have to work, pray and become living models of the Christian life ourselves.  

  

Questions: 

1)   Where and how do I get the strength to complete the difficult tasks that the Father asks? 

2)   What is my vision for my life at this time? 

 

             

  

 

 

  

  

 

 

            

           

           

  

           

  

           

           

  

 

 

  

                  

            

                     

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

           

            

           

            

   

 

 

   

 

 

  

   

 

  

 

   

 

 

 

 

  

  

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

   



  

   

   

  

 

 

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