Saint of the Day for 19 August: St John Eudes
Heart to Heart: Spiritual Vision and Renewal
14 November 1601, Argentan, France
19 August 1680, Caen, France
25 April 1909, Rome, Pope Pius X
31 May 1925, Rome, Pope Pius XI
O God, who, in order to promote devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, hast marvellously enkindled Saint John as Thy confessor, and through him hast wished to make new families flourish in Thy Church; grant, we beseech Thee, that we may venerate his merits and be edified by the examples of his virtues. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.
St John Eudes, a priest, who devoted himself for many years to preaching in parishes and then founded the Congregation of Jesus and Mary for the training of priests in seminaries and that of the nuns of Our Lady of Charity to confirm penitent women in the Christian life; he greatly increased devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, until he fell piously asleep in the Lord at Caen in Normandy, France.
The Saint and Mission
St John Eudes, a priest and founder of religious communities in the 17th century, embodied a missionary vision that goes to the very heart of the Catholic faith. His passion for spiritual and pastoral reform led him to found the Congregation of Jesus and Mary (Eudes) and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, both dedicated to priestly formation and pastoral care.
But beyond the foundations, St John is best known for his deep devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. His mission was not only to renew the Church of France of his time, but to renew the hearts of all the faithful through a deeper and more intimate relationship with Christ and his Holy Mother.
In the context of the Counter-Reformation, when the Catholic Church was facing internal and external challenges, St. John Eudes offered a renewed and missionary vision, focused on the centrality of the Sacred Hearts as the source of grace and renewal. His mission continues to resonate today, reminding us of the importance of personal conversion and total dedication to the love of God and His Sacred Hearts.
The Saint and Mercy
St. John Eudes, an emblematic figure of 17th century Catholic spirituality, deeply wove the concept of mercy into the heart of his ministry and teachings. Central to his spirituality were the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, seen as inexhaustible sources of divine love and mercy.
Eudes saw mercy not only as a divine attribute, but as a vocation for every Christian. His work, both in founding religious orders and promoting devotion to the Sacred Hearts, was imbued with this desire to see divine mercy manifested in people’s daily lives.
In a historical period marked by religious turmoil and challenges for the Church, St. John Eudes emphasised the need to return to the source of God’s mercy, experiencing it personally and making it flow to others. His life and ministry are a living testament to God’s infinite mercy and his desire to bring every soul close to him, regardless of its frailty.
John was born on 14 November 1601 into a pious and modest family in Ri, a village near Argentan in Normandy. From his youth he showed great virtue and profound piety, demonstrating a particular devotion to the Holy Eucharist and the Virgin Mary.
A pupil of the Jesuits in the college of Caen, he brilliantly completed his studies in Literature and…