St. John Eudes
John Eudes was born in Normandy, France, in 1601. He was the oldest son of a farmer. Even as a child, he tried to copy the example of Jesus in the way he treated his family, friends and neighbors. When he was only nine, another boy slapped his face. John felt himself becoming angry. Then he remembered Jesus' words in the Gospel: to turn the other cheek. So he did.
John's parents wanted him to marry and have a family. He gently but firmly convinced them that he had a priestly call. He joined the congregation of the Oratory and studied for the priesthood. After John was a priest, the plague hit Normandy. It brought terrible suffering and death. Father Eudes volunteered to help the sick, caring for both their souls and bodies. Later, he became a popular preacher of missions in parishes. In fact, during his lifetime he preached 110 missions. St. John is responsible for the establishment of important religious congregations: the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity and the Good Shepherd nuns. Father Eudes also started the Congregation of Jesus and Mary for priests. This congregation was dedicated to training young men to become good parish priests.
St. John was very devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Holy Heart of Mary. He wrote a book about these devotions. John became sick after he preached an outdoor mission in very cold weather. He never fully recovered. John died in 1680. He was proclaimed "blessed" by Pope St. Pius X in 1908. This pope called John Eudes the apostle of devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius XI in 1925.
"Preachers beat the bushes. Confessors catch the birds!"-St. John Eudes