WATCH: Reaching the Heart of a Saint
St. Benedict’s Abbey in Atchison, Kansas, on the campus of Benedictine College, hosted a viewing of the heart of the Curé d’Ars. See the Abbey’s video presentation of the visit above, accompanied by the words of Abbot James Albers, OSB.
The Shrine of Ars, France, has entrusted to the Knights of Columbus the major relic of St. Jean Vianney’s incorrupt heart for a national tour in the United States, from November 2018 through June 2019.
Atchison’s Benedictine communities and Benedictine College were grateful to be chosen as one of the stops for this relic. Pilgrims visited throughout the day to venerate a major relic of the patron of parish priests, whose holiness and integrity is a model for clergy and laity alike.
St. John Vianney (1789-1859) as the Curé d’Ars (the parish priest of Ars) brought about a transformation of the faith life in his community and its surroundings and became known worldwide as a confessor. “By 1855, the number of pilgrims had reached 20,000 a year,” according to the Catholic Encyclopedia. “During the last ten years of his life, he spent 16 to 18 hours a day in the confessional.”
Pope Benedict XVI, who spoke more than any other recent Pope about St. John Vianney, said “Although it is true that times change and many charisms are characteristic of the person, hence unrepeatable, there is nevertheless a lifestyle and a basic desire that we are all called to cultivate. At a close look, what made the Curé of Ars holy was his humble faithfulness to the mission to which God had called him; it was his constant abandonment, full of trust, to the hands of divine Providence.”