Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney
As the story goes …
Jean Vianney had difficulty learning Latin, and twice failed his final exams required for ordination. He was finally ordained at the age of 30, but was thought to be so incompetent he was placed under the direction of Fr. Balley, a holy priest in a neighboring village, for further training. Because of his apparent ineptness, he was assigned to the poor parish of Ars, a tiny town known for its dances, taverns and drunkenness. Little was expected of him.
The new Cure decided that God would convert the town by its pastor doing penance for his parishioners. Jean Vianney gave his mattress to a beggar. He slept on the floor in a damp room downstairs, in the attic or on a board in his bed with a log for a pillow; he scourged himself with an iron chain; he ate almost nothing, two or three moldy potatoes in the middle of the day which he hung from the ceiling on rope so the rats wouldn’t eat them, and sometimes going two or three days without eating at all. He slept only two hours each night, rising shortly after midnight, going to the church where he remained kneeling without support until it was time for him to say Mass.
Within ten years of his assignment to Ars, an average of three hundred people visited Ars daily. In the year 1858 an estimated 100,000 pilgrims flocked to Ars. The frail Cure began hearing confessions at 1 o’clock in the morning, and he spent from 13 to 17 hours a day in the cramped confessional.
St. John Vianney died peacefully on August 4, 1859. His body was exhumed was found dried and darkened, but incorrupt. Today, a wax mask covers his face. In 1904, his still intact heart was removed and is displayed in a reliquary in a separate chapel. St. John Vianney, who as a student had difficulties being accepted for the priesthood, was canonized in 1925 and was named later the Patron of Parish Priests throughout the world. Pilgrims can also visit the home of the Curé of Ars, which was preserved the way he left it. It contains the bed set on fire by the devil as well as the Saint’s rosary, breviary, library and other personal items.
Final Resting Place:
Basilica of Ars
Rue Jean Marie Vianney
Ars-sur-Formans, , 01480
Grave Location:Basilica of Ars
Grave Location Description
The village now contains two churches: the old 12th-Century church where St. John Vianney preached and a new Basilica of Ars, where you can observe his preserved body in a glass reliquary as you enter the sanctuary.