Tag Archives: john vianney

John Mary Vianney: The Holy Curé of Ars

A beautiful new children’s book on the patron saint of all Catholic priests . . .

mullenheimJohn Mary Vianney: The Holy Curé of Ars
Ignatius Press, 2010. 36 pages, $14.99 hardcover

Earlier this year, the Pope named St. John Vianney the patron saint of all priests. The saint’s simple way of life, his compassion for the poor, his long hours in the confessional, and his heartfelt celebration of the Mass endeared him to all. This story recalls how Vianney heard his calling to the priesthood when he attended underground Masses during the French Revolution. The future saint struggled in school, yet persevered in his studies until his dream to be a priest was realized.

Founding chaplain revels in Legatus experience

Providence chaplain brings a wealth of experience and passion to Legatus . . . . .

Fr. Marcel Taillon

Father Marcel Taillon
Providence Chapter

Fluent in three languages, Fr. Marcel Taillon can’t say enough about the men and women he serves as chaplain. The former businessman says that his priesthood is enriched by his interaction with Legatus members. Earlier this year, he led members to the Legatus Annual Summit in Bermuda, then on a Lenten retreat to reflect on the mystery of suffering. The pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in Providence, Fr. Taillon is also the director of ongoing formation of priests in the diocese.

Tell me about your call to the priesthood.

My call to the priesthood began when I was a young boy. I was always devout, but began to pursue goals in business and goals that distracted me from answering the call. I studied business in college, and then worked for CVS Pharmacies. I was a pharmacy systems trainer, then an operations analyst. I loved that. We computerized pharmacies across the country in the late ’80s. I traveled a lot and met a lot of people.

Once I was in the corporate culture for a while, my prayer life began to take off, and when I traveled I went to Mass wherever I was. That’s when things got more serious. It wasn’t a peaceful discernment. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to leave the job. But if I had known everything I know now, I’d have left the job sooner.

How did you first get involved with Legatus?

Bishop Robert Mulvee, our former bishop, asked me if I would be willing to help form a chapter. I didn’t know much about Legatus at the time, but I worked with Steve and Judy Lynch, our founding couple, and the regional director.

We chartered three years ago and grew quickly. We have a vibrant and growing chapter — and the steady and interested support of Bishop [Thomas] Tobin. We offered a retreat on redemptive suffering this year. We focused on Pope John Paul’s letter Salvifici Doloris on a Saturday during Lent. We had more than 20 people spend the whole day on retreat. It really helped us take our relationships with each other in the Lord to a different place.

What do you try to bring to the members every month?

I get a lot of prayer requests from members, so I try to be a support and an anchor for them in their faith life and their family life. You can sense the Holy Spirit — especially during the Mass. Almost all of our members would say that that liturgies are the best part of being in Legatus. We’ve had great speakers, but the Masses and the spiritual support for each other are the foundation of the chapter.

What impact has your involvement with Legatus had on you?

There’s such an openness and support for the Church with Legatus that I find inspiring. I can’t wait for the next meeting. As a priest, you do all kinds of things and not all give you the same amount of personal joy. I enjoy the great speakers, but more importantly, praying with members and seeing them interact. They’re all trying to serve the Lord sincerely. They have great enthusiasm and great joy, and it’s not an empty piety.

What are some of your other hobbies?

I love to read, spend time with friends and travel to other cultures when time allows. I am looking forward to attending the international retreat for priests with many brother priests in France this fall. My favorite saint is John Vianney. He’s a model for diocesan priests, and it will be great to pray with so many brothers in such a special place during the Year for Priests.

St. John Marie Vianney (1786-1859)

Earlier this year, Pope Benedict declared the Cure of Ars as the patron of all priests. . .

Feast Day: August 4
Canonized: May 31, 1925

St. John Vianney

St. John Vianney

At the age of 20, Vianney’s studies for the priesthood were interrupted when he was drafted into Napoleon Bonaparte’s army. He was threatened with arrest for desertion when his regiment left while he was praying in church. After returning to the seminary, he struggled academically and was once dismissed. With tutors’ help, however, he was readmitted. His superiors were impressed with his piety, and the vicar-general of France approved his ordination saying, “Ordain him. The grace of God will do the rest.”

Vianney was sent to serve in the rough French town of Ars. The town of 250 people had four taverns for every 40 families. Mass attendance was low and indifference to the faith was high. He founded an orphanage for girls where he taught little lessons about the faith. The lessons became so popular that he began teaching large crowds in the church. Some opposed him. For 14 years a few women had him say Masses for “a special intention” which turned out to be for his transfer to a different parish. He left Ars several times hoping to become a monk, but each time returned to labor heroically for the salvation of souls. In time, townspeople crowded in for daily Mass, farmers prayed the rosary in their fields, drunkenness, cursing and immodesty almost disappeared, and many grew to love their humble, patient, cheerful and hard-working priest.

For 40 years, his daily diet consisted of a few boiled potatoes. He slept three hours per night on a bare mattress. During the last 10 years of his life, he daily spent 16-18 hours hearing confessions. In honor of the 150th anniversary of Vianney’s death, Pope Benedict XVI declared that a special Year for Priests would be celebrated from June 19, 2009 to June 19, 2010.

This column is produced for Legatus by the Dead Theologians Society, a Catholic apostolate for high school age teens and college age young adults. On the web: deadtheologianssociety.com.