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St. John Vianney

St. John Vianney by Julie Lonneman

Artist Narrative:

…in that village there was a great deal of indifference and very little religious practice. The bishop had warned John Mary Vianney: "There is not much love of God in that parish, you will put some there." But quite soon, far beyond his own village, the Curé becomes the pastor of a multitude coming from the entire region, from different parts of France and from other countries. It is said that 80,000 came in the year 1858! People sometimes waited for days to see him, to go to confession to him. What attracted them to him was not merely curiosity nor even a reputation justified by miracles and extraordinary cures, which the saint would wish to hide. It was much more the realization of meeting a saint, amazing for his penance, so close to God in prayer, remarkable for his peace and humility in the midst of popular acclaim, and above all so intuitive in responding to the inner disposition of souls and in freeing them from their burdens, especially in the confessional. Yes, God chose as a model for pastors one who could have appeared poor, weak, defenseless and contemptible in the eyes of men. He graced them with his best gifts as a guide and healer of souls.
—Pope John Paul II France, 1786-1859.

His feast day is August 4.

Art Collection: 
Lonneman collection: 
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John was a farm hand who in his youth taught other children their prayers and catechism. He was ordained in 1815, though it took several years study as he had little education, was not a very good student, and his Latin was terrible. He was assigned for a while to Ecully. In 1818 he was assigned to the parish of Ars, a tiny village near Lyons, which suffered from very lax attendance. He began visiting his parishioners, especially the sick and poor. He spent days in prayer, doing penance for his parishioners. John was gifted with discernment of spirits, prophecy, hidden knowledge, and working miracles. He was tormented by evil spirits, especially when he tried to get his 2-3 hours of sleep each night. Crowds came to hear him preach, and to make their reconciliation because of his reputation with penitents. By 1855 there were 20,000 pilgrims a year to Ars. He spent 40 years as the parish priest.

Born: May 8, 1786 at Dardilly, Lyons, France

Died: August 4, 1859 at Ars, France of natural causes

Name Meaning: God is gracious; gift of God

Venerated: July 26, 1896


Beatified: January 8, 1905

Canonized: May 31, 1925

Readings:

All our religion is but a false religion, and all our virtues are mere illusions and we ourselves are only hypocrites in the sight of God, if we have not that universal charity for everyone - for the good, and for the bad, for the poor and for the rich, and for all those who do us harm as much as those who do us good.
—Saint John Vianney

If people would do for God what they do for the world, what a greatnumber of Christians would go to Heaven.
—Saint John Vianney

You cannot please both God and the world at the same time, They are utterly opposed to each other in their thoughts, their desires, and their actions.
—Saint John Vianney