Author’s Note: The following is largely excerpted from a longer essay that first appeared on OnePeterFive on August 8th, 2014, entitled In Search of The Curé: A Small Pilgrimage to Ars, which tells the story of a pilgrimage I took there in 1999. Unless otherwise noted, the photos below were taken on that journey.
Saint Jean-Marie Vianney was born on May 8th, 1786, in Dardilly, France. He was the third of six children, and his parents were poor farmers. When he was just a toddler, the French Revolution was raging across the country, and apostate priests who had signed the civil constitution of the clergy were the norm. Those who refused were either exiled or killed, and the Vianneys, devout family that they were, were forced to attend clandestine Masses, sometimes travelling long distances to do so. From an early age, Jean-Marie had insatiable desire for God and love of souls. When he was older, he worked as a shepherd, recognizing at last a late vocation at the age of 20.Though he struggled tremendously with his studies — especially Latin — his devotion to Our Lord was beyond compare. After many trials and challenges, he was ordained on Sunday, August 13th, 1815, the lone recipient of Holy Orders that thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost in the chapel of the Grand Séminaire of Grenoble. He was 29 years old.
“Oh! how great is the priest,” he later wrote, “The priest will only be understood in heaven. Were he understood on earth, people would die, not of fear, but of love.”
It was a sentiment he had been expressing since childhood. “If I were a priest, ” he would say to his mother (who, sadly, did not live to see him ordained), “I should wish to win many souls to God.”
After his ordination, he returned to Ecully, where he had been stationed as a deacon prior to his ordination. Upon his return he had been made vicaire of the parish, and continued to establish for himself a reputation of exceptional piety, even becoming the confessor and spiritual director to the pastor there. In February, 1818, he was given a new commission: to go to take over the care of the parish at Ars. According to Abbé Francis Trochu’s biography of the great saint (from which the blockquotes to follow will all be taken) this assignment carried a certain subtext, though St. Jean-Marie gave no indication that he was aware of it:
Not for a moment did [Abbé Vianney] stop to consider whether there was any truth in the statement often made that M. Courbon was in the habit of sending to the parishes of the départment of the Ain, “which was held to be a kind of Siberia for the clergy of Lyons, those subjects that appeared the least promising.” In utter single-mindedness he called upon the Vicar-General, who, after signing the document that appointed him, remarked: “There is not much love for God in that parish; you will bring some into it.” The Abbé Vianney protested that he had no other desire.
Abbé Trochu’s description of Ars as its new Curé found it is not particularly uplifting:
In this year of grace, 1818, the village wore a sad and wretched aspect. All there was to be seen were some forty low houses, built of clay and scattered amid the orchards; halfway up one side of the valley stood a church, if one could grace with such a name a yellowish structure pierced by quite common windows and surmounted by five beams, four upright and one cross beam, which supported the sadly cracked bell. In accordance with ancient custom, the dead were buried by the side of the sacred edifice. Behind the apse was a small square planted with twenty-two splendid walnut-trees. Hard by the church stood the presbytery, which was no better than a peasant’s house. In front of it lay a small yard a few square feet in size. […] As a result of bad roads, Ars seemed, as it were, lost in an inaccessible wilderness. In the fullest sense of the word, it was but a hole. Its inhabitants hardly ever left it, Nature having made them stay-at-homes.
Saint Jean-Marie Vianney’s attempt to reach his new parish was met with difficulty from the outset. He got quite lost trying to get to his new assignment:
The new curé experienced some difficulty in finding his parish. A mist had obliterated the landscape, so that it was impossible to make out distant objects. After passing the village of Toussieux, where no one seemed able to offer further guidance, the travellers lost their way completely. Eventually they espied through the haze some children tending their flocks. M. Vianney approached them, but as the little shepherds only spoke the local patois, they were unable to understand him. He asked them to show him the way to the château of Ars, under an impression that it was situated within the village itself. He repeated his question, and at last the most intelligent of the children, a boy of the name of Antoine Givre, put the stranger on the right road. “My young friend,” said the priest, by way of thanking the lad, “you have shown me the way to Ars; I shall show you the way to heaven.” The young shepherd added that the spot where they stood marked the boundary of the parish. On hearing this the new curé knelt down to pray.
This was the theme of his life: showing people the way to heaven. The indifference toward religion that he encountered in the little town of Ars caused him great pain, so he set himself to building relationships with his flock, encouraging those who were already living well, bringing back those who were not, and doing penance on behalf of those who would not do it for themselves. He impressed them with his piety, and as Abbé Trochu wrote, “they beheld M. Vianney at the altar, radiant and, as it were, transfigured, saying Mass with a solemnity they had not witnessed before.”
There is too much in his life that is praiseworthy to recount with any justice here. Suffice to say, he was a true priest, a man willing to suffer and endure the greatest hardships as a joyous gift, if only the souls entrusted to his care would be converted. His penances on behalf of his parishioners left him at times bloody and faint. He lived on little food and even less sleep. His days and many of his nights were spent in the Church, if not offering the sacraments then spent in prayer for his people. Perhaps his greatest gift was his love for the sacrament of confession, where his piety and God’s grace and mercy made it possible for him to read the souls of penitents. In time, people would come from great distances to confess to the priest who could see even their most hidden sins, and he would sit in the confessional for up to 18 hours a day, hearing the confessions of some 300 people at a time.
He spent little time in his presbytery, but when he did, he lived simply. For years, he subsisted only on a single daily meal of boiled potatoes, and even this meager fare was often left to sit long enough that they grew moldy, though he would still consume them. Once, when his sister visited and saw what he had to eat, she would not touch the food. He protested, “They are not a bit spoilt; I find them still quite good.”
At other times M. Vianney himself cooked, in his famous saucepan, enough potatoes to last him a whole week. When they were boiled he put them in a kind of iron basket, which he suspended from the wall. When he felt the pangs of hunger he took out one or two — to eat three would have been, according to him, “solely for the pleasure of eating.” He ate them cold, even when, towards the end of the week, they were covered with a musty down. At other times he cooked an egg on the hot cinders, or baked a few indigestible matefaims made of flour mixed with salt and water.
In the precious few hours the Curé might have had to get much-needed sleep, Satan would often come, abusing him mentally and physically throughout the night.
Once resolved upon upsetting M. Vianney’s outward tranquility, the devil began with some rather trivial vexations. Every night the poor Curé heard the curtains of his bedstead being rent. In the beginning, he imagined that he had to do only with common rodents. He placed a pitchfork near the head of his bed. Useless precaution: the more he shook the curtains in order to frighten off the rats, the louder became the sounds of rending, and in the morning, when he expected to find them in shreds, the curtains were undamaged. This game lasted for quite a while.
Soon, in the silence of the night, blows were struck against doors, shouts were heard in the yard in front of the presbytery. Perhaps they were the act of thieves, who were after the rich offerings of the Vicomte d’Ars, which were kept in the large cupboard in the attic! M. Vianney boldly came downstairs, but saw nothing.
These attacks grew increasingly vicious, with loud noises and voices and sensations giving way to taunts and roaring abuse, even sometimes leading to the Saint being tossed around in his bed. This of course left the poor Curé increasingly exhausted during his long days in the confessional.
It was indeed a battle, and in order to fight it the holy man had no other resource than patience and prayer. “I sometimes asked him,” his confessor relates, “how he repelled those attacks. He replied: ‘I turn to God; I make the sign of the cross; I address a few contemptuous words to the devil. I have noticed, moreover, that the tumult is greater and the assaults more numerous if, on the following day, some big sinner is due to come.’ “
This knowledge was his comfort during sleepless nights. But the devil was persistent. Once, his entire room was inexplicably set on fire while he was busy in the parish church, though despite the panic of his parishioners, he remained unconcerned, and continued what he was doing without bothering to go and assess the damage. A visiting missionary recounted the event:
The bed, the tester, the curtains of the bed, and everything near — everything had been consumed. The fire had only halted in front of the reliquary of St. Philomena, which had been placed on a chest of drawers. From that point it had drawn a line from top to bottom with geometrical accuracy, destroying everything on this side of the holy relic and sparing all on the other. As the fire had started without cause, so it died out in like manner, and it is very remarkable, and in some ways miraculous, that the flames had not spread from the heavy serge hangings to the floor of the upper storey, which was very low, old, and very dry, and which would have blazed like straw.
At noon, when M. le Curé came to see me at the Providence, we spoke of the event. I told him that it was universally looked upon as a bad joke of the devil, and I asked him whether he really thought that the evil one had something to do with it. He replied very positively and with the greatest composure: ‘Oh! my friend, that is plain enough. He is angry; that is a good sign; we shall see many sinners.’ As a matter of fact, there followed an extraordinary influx of people into Ars, which lasted for several days.”
This was what St. Jean Vianney did: go toe to toe with the devil for the salvation of men. For thirty years he suffered these attacks and made reparation without even taking the human comforts that would be necessary to sustain any other man. For thirty years he persevered, giving guidance, aiding in the discovery of vocations, distributing the sacraments. He was not just the Curé of Ars, he was a Curé of souls.
After a lifetime of unsurpassed holiness and inexplicable miracles, he died on August 4, 1859, at the age of 73. He was beatified by Pope St. Pius X in 1905. Since was the model parish priest, going far above and beyond the call of duty for the well-being of his flock, Pope St. Pius recommended him as the patron saint of parochial clergy. He was canonized in 1925, by Pope Pius XI.
In the new liturgical calendar, his feast day was celebrated on the anniversary of his death, the 4th of August; in the old calendar, it is celebrated on August 8th.
When one reads about the Curé’s voluntary embrace of pain and penance, it is hard not to feel shame about the trivial inconveniences and pains we so often complain about in our daily lives. It has long been claimed that the Devil once admitted to the saint himself, “If there were three such priests as you, my kingdom would be ruined!”
St. Jean-Marie Vianney is a truly remarkable saint, and in a time when we so desperately need holy priests, one whose patronage we should all earnestly seek.
St. John-Marie Vianney, Ora pro nobis!
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have eight children. You can find more of his writing at his Substack, The Skojec File.
This was a true priest of God!
Hang on a minute……you mean the Church had saints before Vatican II??
You’re cute. ????
With the new rules, every communist will be a saint.
Don’t give them any ideas!
They have already begun
Communists can now be saints? When did that start?
O Blesser Vasyl Velychovsky and all you Blessed Martyrs of Ukraine, pray to God for the Church and us sinners!
St Martin Luther perhaps? St Emma Bonino? The way the Vatican is going that’s not as wild as one might think.
“The good people will triumph when the return of the King
is announced.” …
“This shall re-establish a peace and prosperity
Saint John Marie Vianney–
June of 2010 saw Pope Benedict closing what had been the “Year for Priests” and it was planned that he would declare St. John Marie Vianney patron of ALL priests, not parish priests alone.
This seemingly appropriate act, this modest act of piety, enraged the legion of leftist clerics so much so that the plan was abandoned.
This was the event that let me know that Pope Benedict was in serious trouble – that a simple act of devotion to a saint and a call to priestly comportment was so reviled by an element in the
priesthood that the declaration was cancelled. That act of rebellion, which was not muted, was all well and good, but for the laity to object to erroneous pastoring by the episcopate – oh no, that is unacceptable. Be obedient!
You see, the love of Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother, a thirst for souls, asceticism, devotion, prayer, the sacraments are insufficient for today’s clerics. They prefer to be seen as cutting edge guidance counselors, compassionate psychologists, erudite philosophers, ecumenical liaisons…and brazenly and visibly unfamiliar with fasting and penance.
St. John Mary Vianney, pray for ALL our priests, and for those who they are subject to their personal notions of pastoring.
As more than one person has pointed out, all these “Years of X” promoted by Rome have proved to be utter disasters for whatever cause “X” is. Thus in the Year of the Priest we had clerical abuse scandals across the world and Pope Benedict writing a letter of apology to the people of Ireland for the corrupt priests who had molested their children. No wonder that so many priests in 2010 were repelled by a saintly cleric who was a walking, breathing rebuke to their comfortable, worldly lifestyles.
After the saint’s death, more than one villager remarked that while the Curé was in Ars, there had never been a hailstorm and neither had the village even suffered any storm damage. Perhaps St. Jean-Marie Vianney could be proclaimed the Patron Saint of Climate Change, though it’s unlikely his ‘methods’ would get any more than a passing mention (if that) in the papal decree.
I made a pilgrimage there about 10 years ago. Hardly anyone came. It’s now like when St. John first started out -apathy. His story is a wonderful example of what a Holy priest can do.
The think the Cure’s presence is still there or was in 2011 when I was there on pilgrimage. There were few inside the church in the evening and no tourists, a good time to visit actually. Outside the church some young teen age girls were kicking a soccer ball and kicked it to my then five year old daughter to see if she wanted to play. I thought that was so sweet and wondered if I would see something like that happen in the US.
On the Byzantine calendar, May 8th is the feast of the Holy Apostle John the Theologian, the Beloved Disciple and author of the Fourth Gospel.
Providence ordained that another John should bring “the grace of God” (which is what John means) to Ars and the world.
St. John Marie Vianney is a model of Charity and perseverance in the Holy Faith. He suffered many cruel attacks by his fellow clergy and also for many years by his parishioners (one of the parishioners had him offer Mass for several years for her special intention, many years later, after she truly converted, she informed him that the intention for those Masses was that he would be sent away from Ars and they would get a better priest to replace him), yet he never let it break him or lead him away from holiness and sacrifice for the salvation of souls. He tried to flee Ars on three different occasion, not because he despised the people or the work but because he thought that he was not a good enough priest, yet providence drew him back and he endured and by the grace of God prevailed over the devil in Ars and won countless souls for Our Blessed Lord from who came from far and wide to receive His ministry in Holy Sacrament of Penance, His Blessing and to hear Holy Mass offered by the Living Saint of Ars.
When his brother priests sent a petition around seeking support to have him removed from Ars because he was unfit to be a Pastor it accidently was brought to him and he signed it. The bishop rebuked his brother priests and showed them St. John’s signature and asked them how many of them would have had the humility to sign a petition like that against them and not complain about it?
Would that we would learn from St. John Marie Vianney and be humble in the face of personal attack and abide in our Blessed Lord and seek His grace for our persecutors.
St. John Marie Vianney’s worst days as a Priest are better than most good priests best days and all because He was truly humble and willing to sacrifice himself completely to our Blessed Lord, keeping nothing for himself, but expending himself entirely for the Love of God and the salvation of souls.
St. John Marie Vianney: Ora Pro Nobis. Amen
PS: I highly recommend reading Fr. George Rutler’s (another living saint who is known to disdain eating and sleep like St. John Vianney) biography of St. John Vianney:https://www.amazon.com/Cure-DArs-Today-John-Vianney/dp/0898701805
I never knew his own were against him. Much to ponder upon. Father Rutler is a gem.
I just thought of this. I wonder if he would have went to seminary today?
He would apply.
The real question is would they accept him.
Father Rutler’s book on St. John is a diamond.
I prefer the biography by Abbe Trochu. This is one of my favorites:
One summer’s afternoon the boy set out with his donkey laden with corn, which he was to take to the mill at Saint-Didier. Marion Vincent, the little daughter of some neighbours, who was the same age as Jean-Marie, begged for permission to accompany him. The parents of both children readily agreed. So the two set out in the heat of the early afternoon. After some time they decided to rest awhile in the shade of a tree. The hour seemed favourable to an exchange of confidences. Marion liked this quiet, gentle lad: “Jean-Marie,” she said naively, “if our parents were willing, we two would be well-matched.” “Oh! no, never,” the other replied with a vivacity which testified to his surprise; “no, Marion, do not let us talk of this.”…
Sixty years later Marion Vincent, seated with her distaff on the threshold of her cottage, used to relate without bitterness, but not without tender emotion, this charming idyll, the sweetest and, maybe, the only one of her life.
Source: Trochu, Abbe Francis. The Cure D’Ars: St. Jean-Marie-Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859) according to the Acts of the Process of Canonization and numerous hitherto unpublished documents. Translated by Dom Ernest Graf, O.S.B., of St. Mary’s Abbey, Buckfast. Originally published in 1927 by Burns Oates & Washbourne. Reprinted by arrangement with Burns & Oates, London by TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., 1977, pp. 18-19.
Isn’t that lovely?
It is lovely.
After I wrote that comment I remembered the Trochu biography which I read perhaps twenty years ago. It was quite the reading adventure — total emersion as it were. I loved it, as I did his biography of St. Bernadette — absolutely excellent.
No word from TGS?
Scroll down to Benedict Carter August 3, 2017 at 8:00 pm et seq. I posted a very lengthy plea to him. So far he hasn’t responded to my post. I sent him 2 emails too.
You are a gem. Well-spoken and thank you for doing that. I just left him a note there. And thank you for clueing me into that site. I’m going to try to withdraw myself from the argument for a while as well. The Francisneukirke is drawing the life out of me – I need a rest. A week? A month? Who knows? More than likely some moron in a dog collar and beanie will get my ire sooner than I want to admit.
Fantastic exchange over there. I loved your take. Really loved the Editor’s take as well. Best comments by far on the “False Pope” claim. My thinking was actually changed by it. Good ol’ common Catholic sense. Put that together with a little St. John Vianney emulation and I’ll be the better for it.
As for Benedict Carter, I’ve been there too. I just read a small number of Catholic blogs now, and only comment on 1P5. Period. Great common sense writers and commenters there. I share your best wishes to him. I hope he can put the blogs in their proper place (limited) and live a little more like St. John Vianney, devoted to his tiny little, unassuming, “forgotten” corner of the world; and making it a hospitable place for Jesus and His Blessed Mother.
Benedict Carter is the real name of our English friend with the Soviet nom de plume and avatar. (Now if he’d only shave off that Georgian mustache and show his noble English countenance…Sorry, but there’s nothing great about Stalin – the real one, not Benedict).
Oh, that’s bad. Like him a lot. Missed the exchange that led to it. I have noticed his absence.
If he’s reading, I join you in everything you said; here and at catholictruth. You said it better than I could. And either way, pax!
A good sense of humor is so often missing on our side. Dang! Disappointing.
If you succeed in getting in touch with Benedict Carter please give him my regards. Although I did not like his avatar (I told him that way back) and didn’t always agree with his views I found his forthrightness very appealing. He seemed to have a common-sense approach to the Faith that cut through much waffle and claptrap. I miss his vigorous comments.
I will ditto that as well. I remember well his beautiful story, that he posted in the Remnant, sometime ago, regarding his great charity for a woman and her troubled son.
Mr. Carter recanted the story in humility, as it related to another topic being discussed.
The great sense of loss we are traveling through right now is very difficult to bear.
And the great love for Christ and the Church can provoke one so, at this time.
Patience will be greatly required between the faithful. And that would include our priests who may falter now and then as somehow they navigate through this all!
Please give Mr. Carter my regards, and if at all possible, tell him I understand, and that I miss his posts here for many reasons. A good soul!
Good news cs. The last three days has brought about a remarkable series of ‘co-incidences’ (meaning it’s all been an answer to prayer) which has led to a major acceleration of my catechesis program. I now have a very orthodox priest who is going to be part of the developmental program (and become my spiritual director) – and a highly skilled orthodox Catholic documentary producer who is keen to see it turned into a series of films.
Then this afternoon, yet another orthodox priest who was suggested to me also wants to be part of the program. Many thanks to the brave Pope Pius IX, and the good Bishops and Cardinals of Vatican I who had the sensitivity to The Holy Spirit and the courage to proclaim, De Fide, the doctrine of The Preservation of The World – way back in 1870.
So good to hear of this news GrffonSpitfire. Thank you for posting.
Your endeavor has been in my prayer. How desperately we need orthodox catechesis.
I think this is what Bishop Sheen meant by the importance of the laity at this moment in our Church. God bless these priests. You may have brought them a comfort in being able to
do God’s work without so many struggles. ( if you know what I mean). And oh what they will bring to those involved in your catechesis program.
God be with you and may He continue to bless your program and all involved.
Re his avatar: I told him I didn’t like it a long time ago. I’m Ukrainian Greek Catholic, and would gently (or not-so-gently) remind him about why I didn’t like it. The real Stalin starved 7-14 million Ukrainians because they wouldn’t go along with his collectivization program. You don’t hear about that outside the Ukrainian community.
I even suggested a nice avatar for him – Blessed Leonid Fedorov, Bishop, Russian AND Catholic!
I didn’t always agree with him but he did make you think. I’m sure Steve would welcome him back if he changed his views on PF. Personally, I feel sorry for him.
Boy, you’re right about men grieving differently than women. I hope he comes back with a different name. I miss him too. May God rest his mother’s soul.
Actually. he did come back under the avatar Enid Ecumaniac but was banned again because he broke the comment policy rules (again). Quite frankly, I feel sorry for him too.
I tried to explain to him that he has a lot of influence in the American TC blogosphere. Consequently, he should be more careful in what he posts. He decided not to and was banned. (That’s the gist of it.)
Sometimes even the Ukrainians don’t seem to know about Stalin. I don’t understand that. Maybe it depends on what part of the country they are from? Those living closest to Russia were more subject to propaganda and secrecy and the rewriting of history? What do you think?
This article is a great remedy for clearing the mind from current conflict; reorienting back to God in a practical way.
I was looking for a good book on this man after reading this, so your post and recommendations are much appreciated. Thanks for your personal perspective.
Now, chalk up two more purchases for Amazon.
Get them from TAN Books 1-800-437-5876. They should have it. I’d rather support good Catholic publishers first than Amazon.
I donated my 10,000 title (+-) library to my old Parish in Dallas. Now I read everything on Kindle.
I need all my limited house space for my crazy kids.
I donated a lot of my TAN Books titles to the Catholic Community center at my alma mater. Now I wish I still had them because TAN stopped publishing some of these titles.
Your “crazy kids” would definitely benefit from good Catholic books. That’s how I preserved my faith in college.
My kids are gems. I love them dearly. “Crazy” is my term of endearment for them. We have adopted a second family of children in our later years. I have learned to appreciate the little rascals in a way I never could when I was wasting time and taking things for granted in my younger Protestant days. They will never want for books; but right now I don’t see that happening any time soon. Our focus is a bit more basic than that for the foreseeable future.
I am trying to be a strong spiritual head for all this; while getting some really mixed signals from the Catholic leadership. I use blogs like 1P5 to keep seeing straight, but it’s hard for this relatively dense novice to make sense of it all. This bit on St. Vianney has been really helpful, though.
St. John Vianney was born into the French Revolution. He served the suffering French people in the spiritual wilderness in its aftermath. There are parallels to or current degraded situation. We are entering a time of great suffering; spiritual barrenness; it has the feel of revolution in the air. But here’s simple, peaceful, earnest, hard working St. Vianney as our example, not hindered at all in his happiness, his closeness to God, his commitment to win souls for heaven. He’s given the worst, most remote, apathetic assignment in the most dangerous barren country In Europe. And he turns it into a shrine of devotion for all time; a little slice of heaven, as it were.
yep, they sure did, when Pope Benedict “resigned” they quickly put the kabosh on “Catholic Prophecy” which has a couple of things a couple of other religions don’t like. It’s really sad to hear of books given away these days because when an EMP happens, no more kindle, no more laptop pbfs. Think about which ones you will need to have in print most and get them back.
I still have Catholic Prophecy. Can’t give that one away. ????
When I first read ‘Thoughts of the Curé d’Ars’, I thought it was so good that I bought extra copies and gave them to my family and some work colleagues. I don’t know if any of the seed fell into rich soil but one of my colleagues later asked for another copy for a friend of hers so you never know…
I would just mention though, Fr., that judging by the following incident, I don’t think the Curé ever had a mediocre day, let alone a bad one!
One day, a woman who was clearly possessed came to the village and was able to accurately accuse individual villagers of the particular sins that they had committed. When the Curé arrived on scene, the only ‘sin’ that she could accuse him of was that he had once taken an apple from an orchard when he was walking through the countryside one day when he was young.
The Curé acknowledged this to be true but added that he had made sure to leave a sou on the orchard’s wall in payment.
“Ah, yes”, said the ‘woman’, “but the farmer never received it!”
There are so many extraordinary episodes in the life of the Curé d’Ars but this is one of my favourites:
In 1840, Mademoiselle Étiennette Durié, one of the saint’s devoted assistants arrived back in Ars having collected a large sum of money for the Curé’s charitable works. She made her way to the presbytery and as she was going up the stairs, she could hear the Curé talking to someone so she ascended softly and listened. Someone said to him in a very gentle tone of voice,”What do you ask?”
“Ah, my good mother! I ask for the conversion of sinners, the comfort of those in affliction, the relief of sick people, especially that of one who has long been suffering and pleads either for death or a cure.”
“She will get well,” the voice replied,”but a little later.”
Mlle. Burié then relates:
On hearing these words I hurried into the room, the door of which had remained ajar. I was suffering from cancer and felt sure that I was the person under discussion. I saw standing in front of the fireplace a lady of ordinary stature, clad in a robe of dazzling whiteness, on which were scattered golden roses. Her shoes appeared to be as white as snow. On her fingers shone the brightest of diamonds and around her head was a wreath of stars which flashed like the sun, so that I was dazzled by their brilliance.
When at last I felt able to raise my eyes to her once more, I saw her smile gently. “My good Mother,” I exclaimed “take me with you to heaven!”
“Ah, now is the time, Mother!”
“You will always be my child and I shall always be a mother to you.” After saying these words, she disappeared.
Mlle. Burié then had to tug the Curé’s cassock to bring him back as he was still enraptured. When he questioned her about what she had seen, she replied that she thought she had seen Our Lady. He simply told her,”And you were not mistaken.”
Priests in the Vatican (from the Top down) can learn from St John Vianney. But it seems instead of repelling the devil they like to entertain him.
St Jean Vianney probably could not be admitted to any of the modern seminaries which bear his name because he was not academically able. Every seminary seems to demand entry qualifications similar to those for universities in their country. In fact, the 2016 Vatican instruction on priestly training explicitly asks for seminaries to set the entry bar that high. Exceptional sanctity does not seem to be a suitable substitute for such qualifications and modern bishops would almost certainly not support a struggling candidate in the way St Jean’s bishop backed him. But then how many modern bishops would recognise sanctity?
In England, we used to have a minor seminary in west London which prepared working class candidates for high school leaving qualifications which would be a stepping stone to the major seminary. Some went on the priesthood, others eventually chose secular careers. That seminary closed in 2004. Maybe the paedo crisis finally killed it, as it killed at least one major English seminary. Or also, as one observer noted, the modern priesthood does not appeal to modern working class boys, i.e. the majority of potential candidates.
“The holiness of any life and the effectiveness of any apostolate has constant and faithful obedience to the hierarchy as its solid foundation, basis, and support.”
Pope Ven. Pius XII, Exhortation Ad Auspicando, Jun. 28, 1948
Quoted in Pope St. John XXIII’s Encyclical Sacerdotii Nostri Primordia (On the Centennial of St. John Vianney’s Death)
O, how violated a Virtue these days—especially, by so many “faithful” Catholics!
Hierarchy 1948 (or 1959): Don’t put your hand in the fire. You’ll get burned.
Hierarchy 2017: You can put your hand in the fire. You won’t get burned.
Hierarchy 1948 (or 1959): Constant and faithful obedience.
Hierarchy 2017: Well……it is indeed the hierarchy, Matthew, but not as we know (knew) it.
Here’s a great book about the Cure of Ars for children. It’s a Librivox recording…
If the patron saint of priests struggled his way through learning Latin so he could offer Mass as a priest, all the hyper-educated, post-Vatican II, Bishop Barron types have precisely ZERO excuses.
On a sidenote, I read a biography of St. Jean Marie Vianney for a book report during one of my middle school grades (we used a Catholic homeschooling curriculum) and after reading the parts about the attacks of the Devil upon him I couldn’t sleep for a couple of days!
Well, actually, ONE excuse: The people would receive no benefit from hearing their prayers to God.
Venerable Antonio Rosmini-Serbati — remember him? — listed the people’s inability to understand the Mass through the Church’s use of an ancient, dead language (i. e., Latin) as one of the Church’s five “wounds”. But, let’s hear from Ven. Antonio himself, shall we?
Surely if nations are capable of being healed, much more are the ills of the Church curable. It seems an insult to her Divine Founder to imagine that He Who prayed the Eternal Father to make all His disciples “one, even as I and the Father are One,” would suffer a perpetual wall of separation to exist between the people and the clergy, so that all that is said and done in the celebration of the Divine mysteries becomes unreal and meaningless; that He would permit the people for whom the Light of the Word was born, and who were themselves born again for the worship of the Word, to assist at the greatest acts of His worship in no other capacity, so to speak, than that of the statues and pillars of the temple, deaf to the voice of their mother the Church when in very solemn moments she addresses them or intercedes for them as her children: or that the priesthood, withdrawn from the people, on a height which is ambitious and harmful because inaccessible, should degenerate into an aristocracy, a peculiar society, severed from society in general, with its own interests, language, laws and customs ! But these are the inevitable and deplorable.”
Of the Five Wounds of the Holy Church, trans. H. P. Liddon (1883), pg. 25
No, I don’t remember him. Never heard of him actually
I’m not a diehard liturgical Latinist myself. And I will admit to certain feelings of being “lost” when I attend an Extraordinary Form Mass because the prayers are not in my native language. But that’s why I bring a Missal with the English translation.
Amen, Fr RP, Amen!