D'Ars, Curé (1786-1859)
D'Ars, Curé (1786-1859)
Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney, a French minister of deep religious beliefs and fervent faith whose life was replete with extraordinary psychic manifestations. Vianney was born May 8, 1786, in Dardilly, a village near Lyons, France. Although a poor student, who found it difficult to learn Latin and theology, he was ordained a priest. He built chapels, homes for destitute children and friendless women, and provided for the poor. He did not have a penny in the world, yet he regularly maintained more than 100 poor women and children, for help always seemed to come in answer to his prayer.
Persons afflicted with disease soon began to experience sudden cures while praying before the altar or making confessions to the curé, or parish priest. According to the biographer Abbé Monnin, upward of 20,000 persons came annually from Germany, Italy, Belgium, all parts of France, and even from England to be cured by him. His church was open day and night, and immense crowds waited for hours and days. Omnibuses were established to convey patients from Lyons to d'Ars, and the Saone was covered with boats full of anxious pilgrims.
His powers of clairvoyance developed to such a degree it was reported that by walking in the crowd he could tell the names, connections, and circumstances of the patients as soon as he cast his eye upon them.
For 35 years he was persecuted by violent poltergeist disturbances. Loud knocks resounded at the gate, a storm of blows descended upon the furniture, and sometimes there were sounds as if a wild horse were rearing in the hall below his room, striking the ceiling with its hoofs and stamping with all four feet on the tiled floor. At other times a great flock of sheep appeared to be passing above his head, or a gendarme seemed to be ascending the stairs in heavy boots. He always expected these disturbances when someone was on his way to seek consolation from him and attributed it to the envy of the demons for the good he was going to do. He said that once the devil amused himself by pushing him about his chamber all night on a bed on castors. The next day when he entered his confessional he felt himself lifted up and tossed about as though he had been in a boat on a rough sea.
According to William Howitt,
"The truth probably is that M. Vianney had so reduced his body by fasting, penance and enormous exertion, that he had opened himself to all kinds of spiritual impressions, to which the devil was sure to have his share. But most likely many of these ghostly visitors were merely spirits of a low order who like to amuse themselves, as they found the curé accessible to them. Many, no doubt, like those who visited the Seeress of Prevorst, would have been glad of his prayers, had he not been so completely shut up on that head, by his catholic demonophobia."
Vianney died on August 4, 1859 in Ars, France. He was the subject of a papal process beginning in 1862, as a result of which he was declared venerable in 1872, blessed in 1905, canonized in 1925, and declared heavenly patron for all parish priests in 1929.
De Saint Pierre, Michel. The Remarkable Cure of Ars: The Life and Achievement of St. John Marie Vianney. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1963.
Fourrey, René. The Curé D'Ars. London: Burns & Oates, 1959.
Trochu, Francis. The Curé D'Ars. London: Burns & Oates, 1936. Reprint, Westminster, MD: Newman Press, 1950.
——. The Insight of the Cure D'Ars. London: Burns Oates & Washburn, 1934.
Trouncer, Margaret. Miser of Souls. London: Hutchinson, 1959.
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"Curé dArs." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cure-dars
"Curé dArs." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved February 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cure-dars