|Patron saint of those who can't decline puella|
Jean-Baptiste was a French farm boy with a vocation to the priesthood. His family traveled miles to attend secret, illegal Masses during the French Revolution, which probably made the job seem even more attractive. His confirmation had to be done in secret, by candlelight, with the windows covered. Folks were watching for Jacobin guards who might bust down the door and That had to be way more exciting
In 1802, when the Church was decriminalized, he did what he could to prepare, but his dad didn't have the money for much formal education, and when JB did get to finally concentrate on his studies (around age 20), he proved a porr stoodent. Latin was particularly difficult for him. In 1806, he walked about sixty miles to the shrine of Saint Regis to enlist his help in entering the priesthood. Sometimes the answers to prayers come slowly.
|Royalist cartoon showing Napoleon himself deserting|
Eventually JB was ordained and appointed to the parish of Ars. He had never really "met the standard," as we say in schools these days, but Father Balley persuaded the seminarians that his religious zeal compensated for his deficits in knowledge. They wisely said, fine, Balley, he can be your assistant. They did not however, give him Balley's parish when the kind old priest died; that parish went to some other guy and he was packed off to the hinterlands of Ars.
|Yes, the people of Ars were hobbits|
He found that the Revolution had broken the habit of religion for many folks. Farmers tended to work on Sundays, making hay if the sun was shining. Those with sufficient means and leisure tended to be drinking and dancing in the taverns. Since his parishioners weren't coming to him, he started visiting them in their homes. In time, he built up a very faithful and devoted congregation.
|Not the most flattering statue|
|Can you hear my confession now?|