St. John Vianney, Curé of Ars and Patron of Priests, has been a recent topic of discussion in the United States. But why?
Becoming a Hero
St. John Vianney was born and grew up in France at a time when Catholic faith was criminal. He received preparation for First Communion and Confirmation in secret because the French Revolution had done its darnedest to squash the faith and persecute priests and religious (did you know that the French Revolution made martyrs??). St. John considered priests to be heroes because of their courage.
So, St. John began to study (with great struggling) for the priesthood when religious freedom once again reigned in France, but soon after, he was drafted into Napoleon’s army. During an illness, he was led into the mountains and began a school there (yes, he did desert Napoleon’s army, but it was Napoleon, after all!). Eventually, military deserters were granted amnesty, and he began studying for the priesthood again. He was ordained a priest, becoming like his childhood heroes in 1815, and a few years later was named the Priest of Ars.
Soon after, he began a school for girls called La Providence. He shaped his ministry around reconciliation and he made it his mission to reconcile the people to God. He would spend hours (some say up to 18 hours!) a day in the confessional, absolving people and fulfilling this mission. His desire to bring God’s mercy to the people of Ars brought many people on pilgrimages and probably the longest confessional lines you could imagine (think about that next time you’re waiting in line)!
The Heart of a Priest
St. John Vianney died in 1859 and is Patron of Priests. Interestingly enough, a pilgrimage around the United States of St. John’s incorrupt heart just concluded in June, making stops in 80 different parishes, dioceses, and seminaries all over the country. This priest hero’s heart continues to bring mercy, grace, and most importantly the love of Christ to people all over the world.
Why a Person Motioning to Be Quiet?
St. John Vianney would hear confessions up to 18 hours a day as Curé of Ars. Thousands would travel each year to Ars on pilgrimage just for St. John to hear their confessions.
Who would be friends with St. John Vianney?
- Parish Priests
- Those who struggle in their studies
- School Teachers
“My God, if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love you, I want my heart to repeat it as often as I draw breath.”St. John Vianney
Read about the recent pilgrimage of St. John Vianney’s heart here.
Want to keep a hero close to your heart? Shop the St. John Vianney collection here.