Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110
St. John Vianney
Feast day: August 4
A man with vision overcomes obstacles and performs deeds that seem
impossible. John Vianney was a man with vision. He wanted to become a
priest. But he had to overcome his meager formal schooling, which
inadequately prepared him for seminary studies.
His failure to comprehend Latin lectures forced him to discontinue. But
his vision of being a priest urged him to seek private tutoring. After a
lengthy battle with the books, John was ordained.
Situations calling for “impossible” deeds followed him everywhere. As
pastor of the parish at Ars, John encountered people who were
indifferent and quite comfortable with their style of living. His vision
led him through severe fasts and short nights of sleep. (Some devils can
only be cast out by prayer and fasting.)
With Catherine Lassagne and Benedicta Lardet, he established La
Providence, a home for girls. Only a man of vision could have such trust
that God would provide for the spiritual and material needs of all those
who came to make La Providence their home.
His work as a confessor is John Vianney’s most remarkable
accomplishment. In the winter months he was to spend 11 to 12 hours
daily reconciling people with God. In the summer months this time was
increased to 16 hours. Unless a man was dedicated to his vision of a
priestly vocation, he could not have endured this giving of self day
Many people look forward to retirement and taking it easy, doing the
things they always wanted to do but never had the time. But John Vianney
had no thoughts of retirement. As his fame spread, more hours were
consumed in serving God’s people. Even the few hours he would allow
himself for sleep were disturbed frequently by the devil.
Who, but a man with vision, could keep going with ever-increasing
strength? In 1929, Pope Pius XI named him the patron of parish priests