Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Domingo de Guzmán and the Curé of Ars

The 4th of August is St. Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney's feast day on the new calender of the Ordinary Form and St. Dominic de Guzmán's feast day on the old calendar of the Extra Ordinary Form. On  August 8 it is vice versa.

Santo Domingo! No, not the capital of the Dominican Republic, but the man that the country and capital is named after, the highly regarded preacher Saint Dominic de Guzmán. It's his feast day!
St. Dominic was born in Caraluega, Burgos, Castile. Was a canon out of the Cathedral of Osma and had a life long apostolate combating heresies, especially the Albigensian. He worked with the Cistercian Blessed Peter of Castelnau and was a friend to the Poor Clare Saint Amata of Assisi.

He founded the Order of Friars Preachers, who are most commonly referred to by their nickname, the Dominicans.  He had two brothers, Antonio and Blessed Manés de Guzmán. Antonio became a secular priest and Blessed Manés joined Dominic as a Friar Preacher, not bad for Blessed Mamá  Joan, her sons did well.  He died 1221 in Bologna, Italy.

It is said that Blessed Joan had a vision while she was pregnant with St. Dominic, that her unborn child was a dog that would set the world on fire with the torch it carried in his mouth.

Sanctus Dominicus de Guzmán, ora pro nobis


St. John Baptist Mary Vianney has become the priests of priests. He was not the most scholarly of the sacerdotal ranks, but was a superhero among priests in his time and after.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on St. John Vianney

But the chief labour of the Curé d'Ars was the direction of souls. He had not been long at Ars when people began coming to him from other parishes, then from distant places, then from all parts of France, and finally from other countries. As early as 1835, his bishop forbade him to attend the annual retreats of the diocesan clergy because of "the souls awaiting him yonder". During the last ten years of his life, he spent from sixteen to eighteen hours a day in the confessional.
His advice was sought by bishops, priests, religious, young men and women in doubt as to their vocation, sinners, persons in all sorts of difficulties and the sick. In 1855, the number of pilgrims had reached twenty thousand a year. The most distinguished persons visited Ars for the purpose of seeing the holy curé and hearing his daily instruction. The Venerable Father Colin was ordained deacon at the same time, and was his life-long friend, while Mother Marie de la Providence founded the Helpers of the Holy Souls on his advice and with his constant encouragement.
His direction was characterized by common sense, remarkable insight, and supernatural knowledge. He would sometimes divine sins withheld in an imperfect confession. His instructions were simple in language, full of imagery drawn from daily life and country scenes, but breathing faith and that love of God which was his life principle and which he infused into his audience as much by his manner and appearance as by his words, for, at the last, his voice was almost inaudible.
The miracles recorded by his biographers are of three classes:
first, the obtaining of money for his charities and food for his orphans;
secondly, supernatural knowledge of the past and future;
thirdly, healing the sick, especially children.
The greatest miracle of all was his life. He practised mortification from his early youth. and for forty years his food and sleep were insufficient, humanly speaking, to sustain life. And yet he laboured incessantly, with unfailing humility, gentleness, patience, and cheerfulness, until he was more than seventy-three years old.

Sanctus Ioannes Vianney, ora pro nobis

See what I did there? 

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