Saint Brigid Religious Education
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West Hartford, CT 06110

St. John Eudes

Feast day: August 19

St. John Eudes was born in 1601 in the village of Ri, Normandy, France, to pious parents who consecrated him to the Holy Virgin. In 1615 he made a vow of chastity while he was studying with the Jesuits of Caen. On that occasion he consecrated himself to Mary, and from then was notable for his fervent devotion to her.

He left the Jesuits to enter the Congregation of the Oratory, founded by the famous Fr. Pierre de Berulle, who worked to re-establish orthodoxy of doctrine and sanctity of life among the clergy. St. John Eudes thought that the training of priests should also be a priority, so in 1643, he left the Oratory and founded the Society of Jesus and Mary (the Eudists Fathers) to specialize in seminary education. Its first seminary opened in Caen, shortly followed by many others.

In order to convert women of ill-fame and assist those who had converted from a wayward life, he founded another institution, the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity. He also instituted the parish mission to evangelize the neglected souls. For long years, he preached to large crowds in churches or the open fields, or in the courts of nobles and the King. His sermons were known for his strong condemnation of the vices of his audience and their great eloquence supported by his eminent sanctity.

He spread the devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and was responsible for getting the church to accept liturgical offices in its honor. Always faithful to the Chair of Peter, he was persecuted by the Jansenists, whom he counter-attacked with energy.

He died August 19, 1680, pronouncing the names of Jesus and Mary.

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