Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Saintly Knowledge

One of my favorite stories as regards the lives of the saints comes from the patron saint of parish priests, Saint John Vianney. He was stationed in the very small village of Ars, France, and was a keen confessor--many came from miles and thousands of miles just to have him hear their confession! He often had the grace of reading men's souls, so as to provide for their consolation and conversion. Here's one such motivating story about the holy "curé" [priest] (from The Curé d'Ars: St. Jean-Marie-Baptiste Vianney by Abbé Francis Trochu. Rockford, Illinois: Tan Books and Publishers. 1977.):


One day the Abbé Guillaumet, for many years Superior of the Immaculate Conception at Saint-Dizier (Haute-Marne [in France]), was on his way to Ars. It was in 1855 or 1856. The only subject of conversation in the compartment was the marvels that were taking place in the blessed village; M[onsignor]. Vianney's name was on the lips of all. Seated beside the priest was a lady in deep mourning, who was listening with rapt attention. On reaching the station of Villefrance, M. Guillaumet was about to alight when his neighbour opened her lips to ask: "Monsieur l'Abbé, will you allow me to accompany you to Ars? I may as well go there, as elsewhere. . . . I am travelling to distract my thoughts."

The priest consented to act as guide to the stranger when once they had reached the village. The carriage which they took at Villefranche set them down right in front of the church. The eleven o'clock catechism was drawing to a close, so M. Guillaumet led the lady to a place between the church and the presbytery [rectory]. They had not long to wait. Suddenly the Curé d'Ars appeared, still wearing his surplice. He stopped in front of the lady in black, who, following the example of the crowd, had gone down on her knees. He bent over her and whispered into her ear: "He is saved!" The woman started. M. Vianney repeated: "He is saved!" A gesture of incredulity was the only reply of the stranger. Whereupon the saint, stressing each word, repeated: "I tell you he is saved. He is in Purgatory, and you must pray for him. Between the parapet of the bridge and the water he had time to make an act of contrition. Our Blessed Lady obtained that grace for him. Remember the shrine that you put up in your room during the month of May. Though your husband professed to have no religion, he sometimes joined in your prayers; this merited for him the grace of repentance and pardon at the last moment."

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