This glorious parish priest was born in eastern France, three years before the French Revolution broke out. He was a simple farmer’s boy. He received his first Holy Communion secretly in a barn when he was thirteen years of age. He later began studies for the priesthood. Because of the simple innocence of his mind, he found it very hard to pass the seminary examinations. His great devotions were to the Blessed Sacrament and to Our Blessed Lady. After months of prayer to Our Blessed Lady, he finally obtained the favor of being ordained a priest in 1815. He got encouragement to pursue his vocation to the priesthood at the tomb of Saint John Francis Regis. He was first made an assistant pastor at Ecully, and later a pastor at the little village of Ars. He stayed there for forty-one years, until he died. He is always referred to as the Cure of Ars. So great was his sanctity that people from all over Europe came to see him. He used to spend from sixteen to eighteen hours in the confessional every day. Heads of the State, army officers, university professors, bishops and priests, all went to him for direction. Toward the end of his life, nearly 20,000 pilgrims visited him every year. Pope Pius XI proclaimed him the patron of all parish priests. He was one of the most loved priests in the history of the Catholic Church. Everyone remembers him either as sitting in the confessional or kneeling before the Blessed sacrament or before an image of Our Blessed Mother, always with the rosary beads in his hand. His favorite saint was a young girl named Saint Philomena who died in 304, and whose relics were found on the twenty-fifth of May, 1802, and whose feast day is in the same month as the Cure of Ars. Saint Philomena’s feast is August 11.