Saint John Mary Vianney, the “Cure of Ars, Patron of priests, was enamored of the Eucharist and a master of penance. Among others, he received the gift of tears. With his sanctity already in life, he moved the Europe of his time.”
Benedict XVI declared in 2009 a “Year for Priests, which extended from June of that year to June of 2010, giving this admirable Saint as an example for priests. The Pontiff made a panegyric of this humble parish priest who arrived at Ars saying: “My God, grant me the conversion of my parish. I accept to suffer all that You will during my whole life,” bearing his yearning until the end. The Pope wished to remind the ordained ministers to be holy priests during the commemorative celebration of the 150th anniversary of Father Vianney’s death. His touching trajectory of love reflected his extraordinary passion for the divine. He was an apostle who touched the heart of hundreds of thousands of people with his virtue, in the silence of his offering and embrace of the cross, contemplating the Eucharist, enveloped in tears.
He was born in Dardilly, France on May 8, 1786, when the Revolution as starting and its influence was felt in Catholic homes such as his, which marked his childhood. The pious practices that his whole family was obliged to carry out clandestinely, also marked his First Communion: he received It at night in a haystack. He helped his family with field tasks and taking care of cattle. However, he wanted to be a priest at all cost and, although his father was opposed, he succeeded in beginning his studies. The formators recognized his virtue, but he was calamitous in regard to his studies. Discouraged at having to leave the Seminary, he begged for alms to cover the cost of his pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Francis Regis. He left there with the conviction he would be a priest despite his limitation.