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Saint of the Day

St. John Vianney

August 4
French. 1786-1859

Born to a farm family. In his youth John taught other children their prayers and catechism. Ordained in 1815, though it took several years of study...he had little education, was not a very good student, and his Latin was terrible.

Assigned as a parochial vicar to Ecully, France. In 1818 he was assigned to the parish of Ars-sur-Formans, France, a tiny village near Lyons, which suffered from very lax attendance. He began visiting his parishioners, especially the sick and poor, spent days in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, did penance for his parishioners, and leading his people by example. Had the gifts of discernment of spirits, prophecy, hidden knowledge, and of working miracles. Tormented by evil spirits, especially when he tried to get his 2-3 hours of sleep each night.

Crowds came to hear him preach, and to make their reconciliation because of his reputation with penitents; by 1855 there were 20,000 pilgrims a year to Ars. Spent 40 years as the parish priest.

"Private prayer is like straw scattered here and there: If you set it on fire it makes a lot of little flames. But gather these straws into a bundle and light them, and you get a mighty fire, rising like a column into the sky; public prayer is like that."
- St. John Vianney

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