Browsing News Entries

Saint John Eudes

Stained glass window in Saint-Pierre de Dourdain | photo by GO69
Image: Stained glass window in Saint-Pierre de Dourdain | photo by GO69

Saint John Eudes

Saint of the Day for August 19

(November 14, 1601August 19, 1680)


Saint John Eudes’ Story

How little we know where God’s grace will lead. Born on a farm in northern France, John died at 79 in the next “county” or department. In that time, he was a religious, a parish missionary, founder of two religious communities, and a great promoter of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

John joined the religious community of the Oratorians and was ordained a priest at 24. During severe plagues in 1627 and 1631, he volunteered to care for the stricken in his own diocese. Lest he infect his fellow religious, during the plague he lived in a huge cask in the middle of a field.

At age 32, John became a parish missionary. His gifts as a preacher and confessor won him great popularity. He preached over 100 parish missions, some lasting from several weeks to several months.

In his concern with the spiritual improvement of the clergy, John realized that the greatest need was for seminaries. He had permission from his general superior, the bishop, and even Cardinal Richelieu to begin this work, but the succeeding general superior disapproved. After prayer and counsel, John decided it was best to leave the religious community.

That same year John founded a new community, ultimately called the Eudists—the Congregation of Jesus and Mary–devoted to the formation of the clergy by conducting diocesan seminaries. The new venture, while approved by individual bishops, met with immediate opposition, especially from Jansenists and some of his former associates. John founded several seminaries in Normandy, but was unable to get approval from Rome—partly, it was said, because he did not use the most tactful approach.

In his parish mission work, John was disturbed by the sad condition of prostitutes who sought to escape their miserable life. Temporary shelters were found, but arrangements were not satisfactory. A certain Madeleine Lamy, who had cared for several of the women, one day said to him, “Where are you off to now? To some church, I suppose, where you’ll gaze at the images and think yourself pious. And all the time what is really wanted of you is a decent house for these poor creatures.” The words, and the laughter of those present, struck deeply within him. The result was another new religious community, called the Sisters of Charity of the Refuge.

John Eudes is probably best known for the central theme of his writings: Jesus as the source of holiness; Mary as the model of the Christian life. His devotion to the Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart led Pope Pius XI to declare him the father of the liturgical cult of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.


Holiness is the wholehearted openness to the love of God. It is visibly expressed in many ways, but the variety of expression has one common quality: concern for the needs of others. In John’s case, those who were in need were plague-stricken people, ordinary parishioners, those preparing for the priesthood, prostitutes, and all Christians called to imitate the love of Jesus and his mother.

We are all called to be saints. Click here to find out how!

Saints resources

The post Saint John Eudes appeared first on Franciscan Media.

New Course Featuring Leah Libresco Sargeant! “Christian Community as Leaven for the World”

Why is community so important to the Christian life and evangelization? What are some practical ways we can increase fellowship among our own neighborhoods and parishes? The Word on Fire Institute continues to grow and provide new and engaging content for our members, and we’re excited to announce that today we’ve begun an all-new course by Mrs. Leah Libresco Sargeant entitled Christian Community as Leaven for the World! About the Fellow: Leah Libresco has worked as a statistics professor, a data journalist, and a Bayesian probability instructor. She grew up as an atheist and converted to Catholicism while studying at Yale. Through various relationships and reading the likes of Lewis and Chesterton, Leah began to learn more and more about the Catholic faith and was received into the Catholic Church in November 2012. Her conversion unfolded through her popular blog, Unequally Yoked, and was also…

Five Rules for Theology Teachers

Gilbert Highet’s book The Art of Teaching has proven to be an excellent guide for me as a teacher. It’s practical and simple, drawing on the best teachers in history. It’s not marked by that soulless, “scientific” educational philosophy that devalues classical learning, but is rooted in a robust vision that educates the whole human person. Theology teachers need a book like Dr. Highet’s but particularly about the art of catechesis.  While many academic theologians will not admit this, theology is, in part, catechesis. Like an art, it requires vision and skill. Unfortunately, many theology programs do not educate students in a clear and consistent vision, leaving students confused about the nature of theology and its basics. This is representative of the fragmented state of much academic theology. Additionally, there is no apprenticeship a student can undergo to learn from the…

Do Not Be Afraid: Use Your Catholic Imagination

It’s been nearly a decade since poet and USC Professor Dana Gioia wrote an essay urging Catholic writers to “renovate and reoccupy” their own tradition within the literary culture, and it is a discussion that has been ongoing among Catholics since then—part of a broad pondering of what the “Christian imagination” means in the twenty-first century, and what it has to offer a society that is ever-more pop-focused, less literary in consumption and increasingly secular and polarized in tastes, to boot. Certainly, in literature, we have felt the dearth of the sort of Catholic writing that was so prominent in the last century, when authors like Flannery O’ Connor, Walker Percy, Evelyn Waugh, Rumer Godden, and others produced fiction that could hook into the souls of readers, whether faithful or not, and lead them into deep contemplation of our fallen natures, the complexities of the…

Fate of the Prophet

Our readings for today develop a theme that is uncomfortable. Authentically religious people, authentically spiritual people, will almost always be opposed. The logic behind this is simple and unanswerable: we live in a world gone wrong, a world turned upside down; therefore, when someone comes speaking the truth to us, we will think that they are crazy and dangerous. Jesus’ word is meant to burn things up, to reduce things to cinders, to clear things out. A get-along attitude is never what Jesus is calling for. I know that we are uneasy with this idea, but the Bible isn’t. To love is to will the good of the other. Therefore, to love necessarily involves passionate opposition to what works evil in the other. True love destroys the false forms of order and community in order for the true community to emerge.

What I Learned a Half-Mile Under the Earth

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, “Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” —Martin Luther King Jr. Last weekend, on a cabin vacation outside of Tower, Minnesota, my daughters and I, along with my good friend and his kids, woke up, brushed our teeth, and threw on sweatshirts, rugged shorts, and closed-toe shoes. We packed pants and an extra sweatshirt because, in spite of the perfect seventy-two degree day on the lake, our destination (the Soudan Underground Mine State Park) promised a steady fifty-eight degrees in its subterranean parts. So, with bellies full of scrambled eggs, hash browns,…

Is Christianity a Religion or a Relationship?

When I first began considering the claims of Christianity, I encountered a lot of Christians—all of them Protestant—who admitted to having a personal and abiding relationship with Jesus Christ, professing this inner, subjective fellowship to be part and parcel of the Christian faith, with no particular religion or creed required apart from that. At first blush, this appealed even to me, a grinch. No tiresome, stuck-in-the-mud, medieval theology to study, no (allegedly) outdated social teachings on contraception or abortion to uphold, and no institutional hierarchy under some dogmatically infallible bishop with a froofy hat. Just a sort of “Let’s hang out, me and you” thing, only with God. Now, who wouldn’t want that? Well, there is at least one person who wouldn’t want that, and that person was (and is) God. For all the conversations I had with Protestants explaining their personal relationship with Jesus (crudely, I often wondered if…

The Devil Made Me Do It! – Passing the Buck on Sin

"The Devil" is our own creation. The evil spirit, in Ignatian language, is us falling into the trap of being blind to our weak points.

Spiritual Deafness

We all have our sufferings and problems, but sometimes other people can see better than we what’s wrong with us. For example, the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus is about a music teacher and composer who finds out that his baby boy is deaf. He is stunned at the news, because he will never be able to open the world of sound to his son. The baby does not know what is wrong with him, while the loss is perceived acutely by the father. The film goes on to show that the son can still have a fulfilling life, but he is never able to make music with his father. In some ways, our own spiritual condition is like deafness. In the original creation, Adam and Eve were made to hear God’s voice and to rejoice in his spiritual beauty. But by original sin we damaged this capacity, and the powers of…

Benedicta a Cruce

Maia Morgenstern, some five years before starring as the Mother of God in Mel Gibson’s The Passion, played the role of another virgin Jew who found Israel’s salvation in the Cross of Christ. In Márta Mészáros’ 1995 Hungarian film, The Seventh Chamber, Morgenstern plays Saint Teresa Benedicta a Cruce. The film, like Gibson’s, depicts a movie-length Via Crucis. It is not the kind of film you watch with a bowl of popcorn, but with a prayerful heart. Edith Stein, the youngest of eleven, was born into a Jewish family on the day of Yom Kippur in 1891. This providential birthday, as with other things in her life, would later be seen as a meaningful foreshadowing. The Seventh Chamber, however, does not depict the early life of this German philosopher-turned-Christian. It does not show the young and precocious Edith enchanted with the world of literature, and disenchanted with the world…