Monday, August 4, 2008

St. John Mary Vianney

He was born in 1786 in Dardilly, close to Lyon, France, just three years before French Revolution started during which Catholics suffered severe persecutions and discrimination. John felt calling to the priesthood but his path to ordination was not an easy one. He struggled with academic subjects --- in fact, many in the seminary thought that he was too dumb to be a priest. Finally, he was ordained in 1815 and sent to tiny French village called Ars. This is what he was told by the vicar general of the diocese, “There is not too much love of God where you are going. Maybe you could do something about it”.
And he did. He spent almost forty-two years of his life in Ars, devoting himself to prayer, mortification, and pastoral works. His success in directing souls made him known throughout the Christian world --- he would sit in the confessional for 13 to 18 hours a day. People of all ranks and conditions of life sought his guidance and advice. He was beatified by Pope St. Pius X, himself once a parish priest, and canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1929. He is a patron of parish priests and confessors.

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