St John Vianney (1786 – 1859) was born the fourth of six children into a devout Catholic family at Dardilly, France. His early life was greatly affected by the French Revolution. As a young boy, he became familiar with the lengths people went to, to keep their religious practice a secret and protect their Clergy. His own religious education, First Communion, Confirmation and attendance at other sacraments were all done in secret.
At 20, the Catholic Church was legalised and St John Vianney resumed his very limited education with the intention of becoming a Priest. It was a great struggle but, with the help of others, he persevered. However his studies were again interrupted when he was summoned to join Napoleon’s army, who were in need of more soldiers; clergy were not exempt. St John avoided joining, firstly, due to illness and then by living among deserters. In 1810 all army deserters were granted an amnesty so, St John resumed his studies once more and was ordained a Priest in 1815.
St John spent much of his priesthood hearing confessions and in devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Philomena. His spirituality, miracles and championing of the poor became internationally renown, drawing 20,000 pilgrims in 1855.
Pope Pius XI referred to St John as a “rare example of a pastor acutely aware of his responsibilities… and a sign of courage for those who today experience the grace of being called to the priesthood”.
St John Vianney’s Feast Day is the 4th August. He is the Patron Saint of Priests.
St John Baptist Vianney:
Pray for us that we will persevere in our faith despite the hurdles that may befall our daily efforts.
Glory be to the…