Updated: Mar 21, 2022
I remember first reading about St. John Vianney’s struggles with becoming a priest in 'Rediscovering the Saints' by Matthew Kelly. I had known about St. John Vianney and that many people had come to see him for confession and that he would listen for hours.
From listening to today’s homily through the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Youtube channel, I learned that St. John Vianney was sent to Ars because he had struggles with studies going through seminary, and because of this he was sent to a far away town where the people were not too religious. I also learned that his vocation was considered a late vocation.
I decided to learn more about St. John Vianney since today is his feast day. He is the patron saint of parish priests.
I learned a lot more about St. John Vianney from Brittanica.com, SistersoftheCurofArs.org, and a webpage about the Shrine of St. Vianney on the CatholicTravelGuide.com website. I even saw a Youtube video from the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council on the Incorrupt Heart of St. John Vianney.
Here’s what I learned about St. John Vianney:
Curé is French for pastor
His full name is Saint Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney
He died August 4, 1859.
His body was exhumed and was found to be incorrupt.
The major relic of St. John Vianney is entrusted to the Knights of Columbus
John Vianney’s catechism and his first communion were done in secret due to the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror
John Vianney had trouble
He attributes St. Philomena for many miracles
He was drafted into the army of Napoleon
He was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and named as the patron saint of priests by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010
He had trouble with Latin, which was the language of his studies to become a priest. He had to be tutored in Latin. He failed his final exams for ordination twice and was assigned for further training under a priest who was in a neighboring village even after his ordination.
The websites I read varied in the number of hours Saint John Vianney heard confession every day. It was between 12 and 18 hours that he heard confession. Even 12 hours is a long time!
Many times, we don’t know the struggles of people. For many years I had known that people would go on pilgrimages during the time of St. John Vianney for confession and that he would hear confessions for many hours. I didn’t know that he had troubles with his studies and that he failed exams before being ordained a priest.
It’s just recently that I’ve learned that because he didn’t do so well in his studies as a priest that nothing much was expected from him. Boy, were they wrong. At that time he was considered a late vocation. He became a priest at 30.
If you think that you are late in figuring out what your vocation is and you are having trouble with your studies, you can look to St. John Vianney for inspiration. Ask for his intercession. I am sure he’ll spiritually pastor you to where God would want you to be.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7San_s6EgI Knights of Columbus Supreme Council YouTube channel