August 2009, 04.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the death of Saint John Vianney. Better known as the Cure of Ars, he died on August 4th, 1859. He had difficulty learning Latin and almost quit the seminary until another priest helped him.
Before he died he received some 100,000 people a year in confession. In 1925, Pius XI proclaimed him saint, and 150 years after his death, Benedict XVI cites his life as an example for celebrating the Year for Priests.Mons. Louis Menvielle
Congregation for the Clergy
“He did exactly what a priest is supposed to do for the world: he preached, taught the Gospel and never got tired of talking about God. He tried to be a saint, he celebrated Mass, prayed, confessed, and looked for people to participate in the sacraments of the Church.”
Saint John Vianney is known for the hours he spend in the confessional and for his homilies. But he also helped the poorest of the poor.Mons. Louis Menvielle
Congregation for the Clergy “He tried to obtain money by any means to give it to the poor. That’s why he sold everything he had. He sold his clothes, even though he could’ve kept it. He even sold his teeth. He sold five teeth for five Franks each.”
Just as he was being accepted by the people who at first rejected him, and when hundreds of people started travelled to Ars to hear him, he came across another obstacle. This time it was the devil. At night his bed shook to the tune of a great clamor that would not let him sleep.Mons. Louis Menvielle
Congregation for the Clergy“When these noises would start at night, he actually became happy because he would say, ‘it’s nothing, it’s just the devil letting me know that tomorrow a sinner will come to confession.’”
Few could’ve imagined that the youngest and least prepared seminarian, the priest from a small town in France, would become an example to all the priests of the world.