Our Patron Saint

 

St John Vianney

Jean-Marie Vianney was born on 8 May 1786 in the little French village of Dardilly, the son of devout parents. His early youth coincided with the beginning of the French Revolution and the age of Napoleon Boneparte.

He grew up on a farm and at the age of 13 received his first Holy Communion. Some years later he commenced his studies for the priesthood, which he found most difficult.

In 1815 he was ordained a priest and three years later was appointed to the obscure little village of Ars, where he was to serve the people for the next 40 years of his life.

His apostolic zeal and work for these people reached extraordinary heights. His preaching was simple, his love of the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady was deep. But it was for his work in the spiritual guidance of penitents in the confessional that this saint is best remembered. He regularly spent 14 to 18 hours a day in the confessional, surviving on only a few hours sleep.

His zeal, amiability, endless patience, humility and prayer life were renowned in his own day, for thousands came each year to Ars to seek his help and spiritual guidance. Between 1858-59, over 10,000 pilgrims came to Ars hoping to visit the aging Father Vianney. The man who was nearly rejected from the seminary because of his difficulty with school was the vehicle for thousands of conversions. Jean Marie Vianney died at the age of 73 in 1859.  The bishop presided over his funeral with 300 priests and more than 6,000 people in attendance. 

He was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and made patron saint of clergy throughout the world in 1929.

 

August 4 is the feast day of St. John Vianney.

                                                              
                                                                                       

Reflection from our past Principal

Past Principal, Mrs Vicky van der Sanden penned the following after her visit to Ars in France a few years ago:

 

“ In the year 2012, I spent the last few days of an overseas holiday in Ars in France (near Lyon) where St John Vianney lived and worked for much of his life. Ars is a beautiful, quiet little village which has a basilica that houses the shrine to St John Vianney. There is also an underground crypt, a monument and chapel there as well as the orphanage that St John Vianney founded which now serves as accommodation for pilgrims. I visited the presbytery in which he lived which has the furnishings and some items of clothing from St John Vianney’s time. I also visited the wax museum that depicts 17 important scenes from the life of the saint. Many pilgrims from all over the world come to Ars to pray and visit the shrine but the village has maintained a quiet and reflective atmosphere that is respected and cherished by residents and visitors alike. I felt most privileged to be able to visit and walk in the footsteps of the patron saint of our school. It was a truly special experience for me and one which I will long remember and cherish”.