St. John Vianney
St. John Vianney original name is Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney. He was born May 8, 1786 in the French town of Dardilly, and was baptized the same day. His parents are Matthieu Vianney and Marie Beluze. They had six children ,of whom John was the fourth. His family were devout Catholics. They helped the poor and gave hospitality to St. Benedict Joseph Labre (he was passing through Dardilly on his pilgrimage to Rome). In 1790, during the French Revolution, it was illegal to attend mass so his family had to travel to farms far away to pray in secret. During this time priest would risk their lives, so John Vianney looked up to them as heroes. His First Holy Communion lessons were carried out in a public home by three priests. He continued this catholic practice until his conformation. He was 20 when his father allowed him to leave the farm to be taught at a "presbytery-school". The school taught arithmetic, history, geography, and Latin. In 1809, he was drafted into Napoleon's armies. Two days after he had to report at Lyons, he became ill and was hospitalized, during which time his draft left without him. Once released from the hospital he was sent to Roanne for another draft. He went into a church to pray, and fell behind the group. He met a young man who volunteered to guide him back to his group, but instead led him deep into the mountains of Le Forez, to the village of Les Noes, were deserters had gathered. An imperial decree proclaimed in March 1810 granted amnesty to all deserters, which enabled Vianney to go back legally to Ecully, where he resumed his studies. He was tonsured in 1811, and in 1812 he went to the minor seminary at Verrières-en-Forez. In autumn of 1813, he was sent to major seminary at Lyons. Considered too slow, he was returned to Abbe Balley. However, Balley persuaded the Vicars General that Vianney's piety was great enough to compensate for his ignorance, and the seminarian...
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