Born in 1786, John Vianney nearly didn't make it as a priest. He was unable to grasp the Latin necessary for ordination. It was only through the goodness of Father Balley, a family friend and local pastor who personally tutored Vianney, that the bishop of Lyon finally agreed to ordain him. He was sent to Ars, a village as far away from centres of importance as the bishop could find.
Soon his remarkable piety and commitment to his parish and parishioners began to pay off. He transformed the parish by his preaching and his personal holiness.
Eventually word of his personal holiness spread and people began to flock to him as a confessor from all over France. Called the "Cure of Ars", he spent long hours in the confessional and worked tirelessly as a spiritual guide.
St John Vianney's writings on the Eucharist are easy to read but have a profound depth. They are well worth reading. Because of his obvious holiness St John Vianney was made patron saint of Parish Priests. He died in 1859.
On 3 October, 1874 Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney was proclaimed Venerable by Pius IX and on 8 January, 1905, he was enrolled among the Blessed. Pope Pius X proposed him as a model to the parochial clergy - patron of parish priests worldwide.
Click here to read some of St John Vianney's quotes.