Vianney, Saint Jean-Baptiste

Vianney, Saint Jean-Baptiste zhäN-bätēstˈ vyänāˈ [key], 1786–1859, French parish priest, popularly known as the Curé d'Ars, b. Dardilly, near Lyons. He came of poor, peasant stock and received scant education until, as a youth, he struggled through the seminary. As a young curé he was sent to the little village of Ars. Vianney found that the people there had lost their faith, and he vowed to make the community “the property of God.” He beautified the church, lived like the poorest of the poor, and fasted and prayed for the people. His skill as a confessor drew people from outside his parish, and neighboring priests complained and sought to have him removed. Vianney himself signed their petitions. He began an orphanage for girls that served as a model throughout France. Many miracles were attributed to him during his lifetime, and in his last years thousands from all over France came annually to his confessional. He was canonized in 1925. In 1929 he was made universal patron of parish priests. Feast: Aug. 8.

See biographies by H. Ghéon (tr. 1929) and J. de la Varende (1959).

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