Sunday, October 27, 2013

Saint John Vianney and His Ability to Read Souls

Saint John Vianney is often referred to as the Cure of Ars. He was a parish priest assigned to the village of Ars, with a population of just 230, shortly after the French Revolution. He was sent there because he wasn't considered very smart.

Upon his arrival in Ars, Saint John Vianney found his flock had strayed from God. He undertook severe penances to win conversions. He spent a lot of time with his parishioners, trying to get to know each soul entrusted to his care.

The Cure had the ability to "read souls." This means he was acutely aware of the true state of a penitent's condition. He could also tell those visited his confession about other events in their lives. Saint John informed one young lady that she had actually met the devil at a dance she had attended. He was disguised as a handsome young man. The Miraculous Medal she was wearing was her protection.

Saint John spent long hours in the confessional, Catholics from all over the countryside sought him out. He got very little sleep. Many nights the devil kept him awake by making loud noises.

He was canonized in 1925. In 2009, to mark the 150th anniversary of his death, Pope Benedict XVI declared him patron saint of all priests.

Flickr photo by Ambrose Little

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