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St John Eudes

Priest - from France
Born on 14 November 1601 in Normandy
Died on 19 August 1680 in Caen
Founder of the Eudists & Order of Our Lady of Charity
His book "Le Cœur Admirable de la Très Sainte Mère de Dieu" was first ever written on the devotion to the Sacred Hearts
Pope Leo XIII, declaring him Venerable in 1903, gave him the title of 'Author of the Liturgical Worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus & Holy Heart of Mary'
Beatified by St Pius X on 25 April 1909
Canonzied by Pope Pius XI with St John Mary Vianney on the Feast of Pentecost, 31 May 1925
Feast day - 19th August

"You must never separate what God has so perfectly united. So closely are Jesus and Mary bound up with each other that whoever beholds Jesus sees Mary; whoever loves Jesus, loves Mary; whoever has devotion to Jesus, has devotion to Mary."

Catechesis by Pope Benedict XVI
General Audience, Wednesday 19 August 2009 - also in Croatian, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

Today is the liturgical Memorial of St John Eudes, a tireless apostle of the devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary who lived in France in the 17th century that was marked by opposing religious phenomena and serious political problems. It was the time of the Thirty Years' War, which devastated not only a large part of Central Europe but also souls. While contempt for the Christian faith was being spread by certain currents of thought which then prevailed, the Holy Spirit was inspiring a spiritual renewal full of fervour with important figures such as de Bérulle, St Vincent de Paul, St Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort and St John Eudes. This great "French school" of holiness also included St John Mary Vianney. Through a mysterious design of Providence, my venerable Predecessor Pius XI canonized John Eudes and the Curé d'Ars together, on 31 May 1925, holding up to the whole world two extraordinary examples of priestly holiness.

In the context of the Year for Priests, I want to dwell on the apostolic zeal of St John Eudes, which he focused in particular on the formation of the diocesan clergy. The saints are true interpreters of Sacred Scripture. In the experience of their lives the saints have verified the truth of the Gospel; thus they introduce us into a knowledge and understanding of the Gospel. In 1563 the Council of Trent issued norms for the establishment of diocesan seminaries and for the formation of priests, since the Council was well aware that the whole crisis of the Reformation was also conditioned by the inadequate formation of priests who were not properly prepared for the priesthood either intellectually or spiritually, in their hearts or in their minds. This was in 1563; but since the application and realization of the norms was delayed both in Germany and in France, St John Eudes saw the consequences of this omission. Prompted by a lucid awareness of the grave need for spiritual assistance in which souls lay because of the inadequacy of the majority of the clergy, the Saint, who was a parish priest, founded a congregation specifically dedicated to the formation of priests. He founded his first seminary in the university town of Caen, a particularly appreciated experience which he very soon extended to other dioceses. The path of holiness, which he took himself and proposed to his followers, was founded on steadfast trust in the love that God had revealed to humanity in the priestly Heart of Christ and in the maternal Heart of Mary. In those times of cruelty, of the loss of interiority, he turned to the heart to speak to the heart, a saying of the Psalms very well interpreted by St Augustine. He wanted to recall people, men and women and especially future priests, to the heart by showing them the priestly Heart of Christ and the motherly Heart of Mary. Every priest must be a witness and an apostle of this love for Christ's Heart and Mary's Heart. And here we come to our own time.

Today too people feel in need of priests who witness to God's infinite mercy with a life totally "conquered" by Christ and who learn to do this in the years of their seminary training. After the Synod in 1990 Pope John Paul II published the Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis in which he returned to and updated the norms of the Council of Trent and stressed above all the necessary continuity between the priest's initial and continuing formation. For him this is a true starting point for an authentic reform of the life and apostolate of priests. It is also the key to preventing the "new evangelization" from being merely an attractive slogan and to ensuring that it is expressed in reality. The foundations laid in seminary formation constitute that indispensable "humus spirituale" in which "to learn Christ", letting oneself be gradually configured to him, the one and only High Priest and Good Shepherd. The seminary period should therefore be seen as the actualization of the moment when the Lord Jesus, after calling the Apostles and before sending them out to preach, asks them to be with him. When St Mark recounts the calling of the Twelve Apostles he says that Jesus had a twofold purpose: firstly that they should be with him, and secondly, that they should be sent out to preach. Yet, in being with him always, they really proclaim Christ and bring the reality of the Gospel to the world.

During this Year for Priests I ask you, dear brothers and sisters, to pray for priests and for all those who are preparing to receive the extraordinary gift of the ministerial priesthood. I address to you all and thus I conclude the exhortation of St John Eudes who said to priests: "Give yourselves to Jesus in order to enter the immensity of his great Heart which contains the Heart of his Holy Mother and the hearts of all the Saints and lose yourselves in this abyss of love, charity, mercy, humility, purity, patience, submission and holiness."

Pope Pius XI at Holy Mass with the Canonization of Saints John Mary Vianney & John Eudes on the Feast of Pentecost
Sunday 31st May 1925 - in Latin

IN SOLEMNI CANONIZATIONE

BEATORUM CONFESSORUM IOANNIS BAPTISTAE M. VIANNEY ET IOANNIS EUDES, HABITA IN BASILICA VATICANA, DIE XXXI MAII MDCCCCXXV, IN FESTO PENTECOSTES

Ad triplicem postulationem instanter, instantius, instantissime factam per Advocatum Consistorialem Augustum Milani, ab E.mo P. D. Antonio Card. Vico, Canonizationis Postulatore, R.mus D. Nicolaus Sebastiani, Secretarius Litterarum ad Principes, Sanctitatis Suae nomine, haece respondit:

I. Qui de beatis confessoribus Ioanne Baptista Vianney et Ioanne Eudes inter sanctos caelites recensendis postulavistis, non vos profecto ignoratis, quantam animi voluptatem Beatissimus Pater, tribus diebus festis proxime superioribus, ex latis in simili re decretoriis sententiis perceperit. Iidem facile intellegitis, quae hodie agitur causa, fieri non posse, quin ea summo fidei Magistro catholicoque nomini universo et maximam pariat laetitiam et optimam afferat spem salutarium fructuum ; siquidem sollemnia haec eo spectant, ut splendidissima illa duo sacerdotalis officii et apostolatus lumina ad venerandum imitandumque, praesertim utrique clero, proponantur. Alter enim eorum, minus a paterno cognomine quam ab humili vico, ubi curionem ageret, notus atque appellatus, gregem suum, a christianae vitae instituto fere alienum, non quidem arte expolitis verbis sed caritate flagrantibus, maxime autem precibus lacrimisque apud Deum instando, sic emendavit, ut ad interiorem cum Deo coniunctionem adduxerit. Atque is praeterea, quadraginta annorum spatio, in tribunali admissis expiandis, consiliarius, afflictorum consolator, animarum culpis obrutarum medicus perfectionisque omnis impulsor talis exstitit, ut ad ipsum, vel sedecim diei horas eo in ministerio perseverantem, perpetua quadam peregrinatione, hominum quotannis plus septuaginta millia undique confluerent. Alterum vero beatum virum, quo Conditore ac Patre legifero cum Sodalitas religiosorum hominum a Iesu et Maria, tum Sorores Dominae Nostrae a Caritate vehementer gloriantur, oratorem disertissimum ac mirabilem aeternarum veritatum praeconem Gallia omnis audivit; et, quemadmodum ipse contionari ad populum nullo tempore destitit atque interdum praefractos animos per rerum prodigia ad paenitentiam inflexit, sic multitudines hominum, nec caeli asperitate nec itinerum longitudine vel difficultatibus deterritae, ubicumque is de divinis rebus perorabat, illuc concurrere consueverant, ad eiusque pedes eiurare crimina et se ad bonam frugem recipere. Ambos igitur beatos viros in sanctis caelitibus numerare non dubitat Pontifex; verumtamen edicit, velle se, ut, ad divinae sapientiae munera sibi impetranda, quotquot adsunt, deprecationem totius Curiae caelestis interponant.

II. Antequam iteratae postulationi vestrae concedat Beatissimus Pater, cupit ampliora Spiritus Sancti hic communiter sibi implorari lumina.

III. Cum Beatissimus Pater pro certo iam habeat, quod sibi placet, idem placere Deo, in cuius gloriam vertit quicquid hominibus sanctitatis laude conspicuis defertur honoris, decretoriam sententiam, quae diuturnam communis desiderii exspectationem compleat, confestim laturus est. Petrum igitur in Pio loquentem, intentis auribus animisque, venerabundi auditote.

Lata itaque sententia, in qua commemorationi utriusque sancti Confessoris non Pontificis diem natalem addixit, nimirum Sancto Ioanni Baptistae Mariae Vianney diem IV augusti, Sancto Ioanni Eudes diem XIX augusti, Missa Papalis de Festo Pentecostes celebrata est, et in ea fuit

HOMILIA

"SANCTISSIMI DOMINI NOSTRI

VENERABILES FRATRES, DILECTI FILII,

Praeclaram Nobis et communitati fidelium laetandi causam refert illius diei veneranda sollemnitas, cum mirabiliter nascens Ecclesia, omnibus Spiritus Sancti exornata charismatis, e tacito Caenaculi recessu in lucem hominum celebritatemque primum prodiit. A quo quidem horae momento cum perennis vita atque virtus in venas immaculatae Christi Sponsae permanare coepisset — nam, teste Augustino (Serm. CLXXXVII de temp.), quod est in corpore nostro anima, id est Spiritus Sanctus in corpore Christi, quod est Ecclesia — praesentissimo ipsa Spiritus veritatis auxilio non modo cuiusvis exstitit erroris expers, verum etiam sacrae doctrinae et caritatis germina ubique gentium, cum ad communem populorum salutem nata esset, sevit et aluit studiosissime. Divina profecto haec Spiritus Paracliti virtus, errorum contagionem ab Ecclesia amoventis, tum apertissime oculis omnium apparuit, cum Concilium Nicaeae ante sedecim saecula habitum est: cuius utinam commemoratio, mentibus animisque superna inlustratis permotisque gratia, eam, quam dissidentium eeclesiarum cum Apostolica Sede praecipue in votis habemus coniunctionem, accelerando redintegret. Operam, ceteroqui, quam Apostoli, ab ipso Pentecostes die, dederunt et sanguine suo veluti obsignarunt, ut orbem terrarum ab ethnica pravitate ad novam religionem traducerent, ii omnes, continuatione ac perpetuitate quadam, persequuntur, quicumque aut, abdicatis domus vitaeque commoditatibus, evangelicam lucem, simulque humanum civilemque cultum, ingenti cum labore atque etiam capitis discrimine, ad barbaros perferunt, aut in christifidelibus e vitiorum caeno extrahendis ad virtutumque exercitationem informandis, nulla aut vix ulla animi remissione, desudant. Quibus quidem sacrorum administris – cum gratia naturam non deleat sed perficiat, et alia in aliis operetur unus atque idem Spiritus, dividens singulis prout vult (I Cor. XII. 11) – nec similia omnibus dona, nec simili demensa modo, suppetunt ac constant; in quorundam vero animis tanta munerum caelestium insidet ubertas tantaeque efficacitatis, ut iidem cum maxima vitae sanctimonia mirabiles prorsus apostolatus fructus coniungant.

Hoc ipsum, ut nostis, in duobus iis evenit sacerdotibus, quos in sanctorum caelitum numerum modo rettulimus: unde diei huius festi gaudia Nobis et catholico nomini geminantur.

Hoc quidem loco non attinet, eo magis quod in re versamur exploratissima, utriusque exempla virtutum vitaeque curriculum fusiore sermone exsequi. Sed Nobis videmur paene oculis videre exilem Ioannis Baptistae Vianney corporis figuram, cervicem nivea promissi capilli quasi corona nitentem, et gracilem vultum ieiuniisque confectum, ex quo humillimi suavissimique animi innocentia adeo et sanctitas perlucebat, ut, primo adspectu, multitudines hominum ad salutares cogitationes revocarentur. Ecquis, quantumvis obfirmato in peccatis animo, eius verbis ac lacrimis restitit ? Ecquem vespertinae eius contiunculae, etsi remissa plerumque voce habitae, cum ad poenitendum, tum ad redamandum Iesum non commoverunt? Ex quo, profecto, Spiritus Sancti actio mirifice eminet, qui potest unus de indocto incultoque homine peritissimum facere piscatorem hominum. — Latior sane studiosae Ioannis Eudes voluntati obtigit patuitque campus. Per omnem enim Galliam vox eius intonuit, cum, aeternarum praeco disertissimus veritatum, innumerabiles ab antiquo humani generis hoste praedas eriperet divinoque Redemptori restitueret. Atque, ut cetera praetereamus, cum hic sui heredem apostolatus sodalitatem religiosorum virorum a Iesu et Maria reliquerit, tum sancti studii sui ardore Sorores Nostrae Dominae a Caritate imbuit, quas, praeter tria illa usitata, quarto voto obstrinxit et hospitio excipiendi et ad honestum vitae institutum revocandi perditas feminas, eius haud immemor misericordiae, quam Christus Iesus et Samaritanae et adulterae et peccatrici mulieri exhibuisset.

Itaque cupimus vehementer, in utrumque Sanctum novensilem sacerdotes, imitationis causa, intueantur. Ab altero quidem, praesertim curiones, vel humilium vicorum, discant quo divinae gloriae studio, qua orationis instantia, quibus virtutum praesidiis animarum gerant procurationem; ab altero autem divini verbi praecones ac missionales cognoscant, ea se uti eloquentia oportere, quae audientium non aures titillet, sed animos Christo lucrifaciat. Meminerint vero omnes, ad utriusque exemplum, non sibi ante ab apostolatus labore quiescendum, quam in suavissimo Iesu Christi, Pastorum Principis, osculo decesserint.

Atque ut eo redeamus, unde exorsi sumus, Spiritum veritatis eundemque omnis sanctitatis auctorem, cum Nostris vestras, Venerabiles Fratres, dilecti Filii, consociando preces, rei catholicae propitiare ne cessetis. Qui invisibiliter Ecclesiam vivificat et unit (S. Th., Summ. Theol., III, q. III, a. 8), et in Nicaena Synodo prima ceterisque, decursu aetatum, oecumenicis Conciliis Patrum consulta gubernavit , o pergat ipse Ecclesiae, maiore in dies copia donorum, adesse, idemque, postulando pro nobis gemitibus inenarrabilibus (Ad Rom., VIII, 26), renovet faciem terrae et christianorum omnium maturet unitatem : qui cum Patre et Filio vivit et regnat in saecula saeculorum.