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Saint John Vianney
A Pastor At The Service
Of Christ's Flock

"Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send labourers into his harvest."
-Luke 10:2

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Saint John Vianney, also known as the Cure d'Ars, plus commonly known as Jean Marie Vianney, is the patron saint of priests. During this Year for Priests you can pray for his intercession that God will strengthen the priest you are praying for and send more holy priests.

Why John Vianney Became A Saint

150 years have past since the death of Jean Marie Vianney, and yet, he has been brought to the worlds' attention once again by Pope Benedict XVI in his declaration of the Year for Priests. In fact the Holy Father sites the occasion of the 150th anniversary of St. Jean Marie Vianney's death to mark the beginning of the Year for Priests.

Pope Benedict calls Jean Marie Vianney "a true example of a pastor at the service of Christ's flock."

Who is this holy man the Pope honors so affectionately?

St. John Mary Vianney came from a pious and holy family who worked hard and prayed constantly. St. John Vianney worked many hours on the family farm in France.

Saint John Vianney is known to have said, "Virtue passes from the heart of a mother to the hearts of her children, who do willingly what they see her do." This great saint learned this truth first hand from his own childhood experience. His own mother was truly good and taught her six children to love God and to never offend Him.

He was named after St. John the Baptist and the Blessed Virgin Mary, being Christened Jean Baptiste Marie. As early as three years old, Saint John Vianney would go off alone to pray. He was completely devoted to Mary from this young age.

"I loved her (the Blessed Virgin) even before I knew her it was my first affection. When I was quite little I had a pretty little rosary, to which my sister took a fancy; she wanted to have it. This was one of my first troubles. I went to consult my mother about it. She advised me to give it up for love of God. I obeyed: but it cost me many tears."

Taken from The Life of the Curé d'Ars [St. J.B.M. Vianney] from the French By Alfred Monnin, p. 7-8.

To read more St. John Marie Vianney quotes click here...

This excerpt from Saint John Vianney's childhood shows he possessed a strong devotion to Mary and the Rosary as well as a strong spirit of self sacrifice and self denial for the love of God from the earliest years of his life.

Saint John Vianney came to age during the turbulent years of the French revolution. A time when religion was suppressed under the false notion of so-called liberty. His family went to Mass in secret. And yet, his closeness to Mary carried him peacefully through this awful time.

He possessed a priestly heart from the beginning. There was no longer a parish in his town, but when the day's work was complete, he would go to work winning souls for Jesus. He would teach the other boys about God, to love the Blessed Virgin Mary, and how to say their prayers.

He had a favorite image of Mary that he would take with him while he watched his family's animals graze. His friends would gather around and he would lead them all in prayer. He then would give them a little "sermon". Sometimes his friends would get bored and run off and play as little boys will do. This did not matter to St. John Vianney though. He would remain alone and contemplate the things of God.

Imagine the great need for priests by the time his country was restored to it's sanity. When the Church was no longer suppressed and the churches were re-opened, there were few priests left to administer to the people. The priests had either been executed on the guillotine or exiled. Before Saint John Vianney became a priest he would say, "If I were ever a priest, I would win many souls to God." And he did just that.

After many obstacles, one of which being the Reign of Terror in France, Saint John Vianney finally began to study for the priesthood. Studying never came easy for Jean Marie Vianney and after many years of hard study he finally became a priest. He never let any obstacle come in his way, rather he patiently waited for God to remove it.

When Saint John Vianney was a priest, his studies did not end, for he continued to aspire for moral perfection by growing more deeply rooted in the teachings of the Church and in his spiritual development which translated into the heroic sanctity for which he is now known.

Two important truths can be gleaned from the life of St. John Mary Vianney. He leads the way to heroic sanctity by demonstrating the importance of...

  • Growing in virtue by imitating the lives of Jesus and Mary, which you can do through the daily meditations on the Rosary
  • Practicing self-denial in a spirit of sacrifice, especially during times of persecution and trouble

Saint John Vianney - Patron Saint Of Priests

Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the priesthood, the night before He died at the Last Supper. Jesus did so, among other reasons, to leave the world a successive line of men who would be examples of Himself. For this reason, priests are known as, alter Christus, another Christ.

Priests imitate Jesus in the fact that they continue to give up their own lives to administer to the needs of their parishioners.

Priests confront many obstacles and must overcome great temptations in order to shed off their human nature and become more Christ-like.

They need many prayers and holy role models.

Saint John Vianney is held up by the Church as a perfect example of how a man with the help of God and through penance and self-denial can transform into an alter Christus.

Pope Benedict reminds priests of this man's holy example.

Saint John Vianney possessed the virtues of humility, sweetness, obedience and sacrifice, which were first displayed during his childhood and developed more deeply as he aged. Most prominent among his many virtues was his strong spirit of poverty. He did penance for his parishioners and spent many long hours adoring Jesus in the blessed Sacrament.

He believed this was the surest way to save souls.

This fatherly care for his flock is the reason he was declared the patron saint of priests.

Good and holy priests would do well to follow St. John Vianney's example by...

  • Living in a spirit of poverty
  • Sacrificing and doing penance for the souls of their parishioners
  • And by dedicating their free time in the confessional

It is known that St. John Vianney would spend up to 18 hours a day in the confessional.

His flock found Jesus in him because like Mary, he became a reflection of Jesus.

This reflection gained the attention of the Evil One as well. He was tormented by the devil because of the many souls he brought to God.

Some of the most amazing stories from his life tell of this horrible torment. He was attacked by the devil psychologically, emotionally and even physically.

These attacks occurred most often at night. He heard loud, violent noises and one time his bed was actually set on fire.

The devil tortured him for 35 years but never broke St. John Mary Vianney's mission to win many souls for God.

St. John Vianney became famous throughout the region for his judgement of faith and was known far and wide as the Cure d'Ars. Ars, France is the town he spent 40 years faithfully ministering to the people.

Pray that all priests will follow Saint John Vianney, the Cure d'Ars holy example and dedicate their lives to winning souls for God.

Prayer For Priests Through
The Intercession
Of Saint John Marie Vianney

St. John Marie Vianney is a true example
of a pastor at the service of Christ's flock.

Most gracious Heavenly Father, We thank you for our faithful priests and bishops, whose spiritual fatherhood and example of fidelity, self-sacrifice, and devotion is so vital to the faith of your people.

May our spiritual fathers be guided by the example of St. John Vianney. Give them valiant faith in the face of confusion and conflict, hope in time of trouble and sorrow, and steadfast love for you, for their families, and for all your people throughout the world. May the light of your Truth shine through their lives and their good works.

Assist all spiritual fathers, that through your Grace they may steadily grow in holiness and in knowledge and understanding of your Truth. May they generously impart this knowledge to those who rely on them. Through Christ our Lord.


Want to pray a Novena in Honor of Saint John Vianney? Go here...

St. John Vianney's zeal for the priesthood makes him a shining example for priests and laity alike during this Year for Priests. The role of a priest and the priests' mission in the Church are demonstrated in the life of St. John Vianney.

Incorrupt body of St. John Vianney

Actual picture of St. John Vianney incorrupt body,
entombed at the main altar in the Basilica of Ars, France.
His body has not yet decayed 150 years after his death.
Courtesy of Mr Gourmand [new window opens]

In this book, The Cure D'Ars, it tells of the definitive life of St. Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney, based on the official "Process of Beatification and Canonization," and thus totally factual and documented.

You may also enjoy the Sermons of the Cure of Ars which St. John Vianney composed as a young priest. This book is ranked among the best and most powerful literature of the Church. It will help you discover the virtues you personally need to improve as well as the vices you must weed out of your life.

After 150 years Saint John Vianney's body is incorrupt, a phenomenon unexplained by modern science even to this day. This miraculous phenomenon not only pertains to St. John Vianny, but to quite a few other saints including Saint Bernadette of Lourdes.

You can learn more about 102 canonized Saints, Beatified and Venerables in Joan Carroll Cruz's incredible book The Incorruptibles.

Visit our Year for Priests page and see how you can show your support for priests...

Return to Rosary For Priests page

Catholic Mysteries Of The Rosary

Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary
The Joyful Mysteries are taken mostly from St. Luke's Gospel in the New Testament. They involve the joyful events of Jesus' childhood. The most joyful event in all of human history is the Incarnation or when God became man and dwelt among us read more...

Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary
What a gift the the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary are. Meditating on these Mysteries of Light bring even deeper understanding of the public life of Jesus. They fill in the blanks between Jesus' childhood and His suffering and death on the cross. Therefore read more...

Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary remind you of how much Jesus loves you. He suffered and died for you. "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends." -John 15:13. You are loved by Jesus read more...

Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary
The Glorious Mysteries are the crown of Jesus' triumphs. How exhilarating to know that Jesus is God and that He rose from the dead, making you an heir to Heaven. Reminding yourself of these glorious events as you pray the Rosary prayer will keep your faith alive and strong read more...

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Inspiring Quotes

Daily Meditation

Let us pray

Almighty and everlasting God, look upon the Heart of Thy well-beloved Son and upon the acts of praise and satisfaction which He renders unto Thee in the name of sinners; and do Thou, in Thy great goodness, grant pardon to them who seek Thy mercy, in the name of the same Thy Son, Jesus Christ, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, world without end. Amen.
-From the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

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He led a quiet, peaceful, humble life. Yet he held the highest position bestowed upon the human race.



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