The Catholic Defender: The Saint John Eudes Story


1601 in France was turbulent times. During the winter of 1601 the Battle of Wenden, the Poles and Lithuanians army headed by Charles IX captured the city of Valmiera breaking through the lines reaching the Daugava river.


The city of Kokenhausen was then under siege holding fast behind walls. The Swedish Calvary entered the frozen river Gauja when the ice broke under the pressure of the weight of horses causing many losses.


The Poles and Lithuanians were able to destroy the Swedish killing or wounding1,900 losing all their weaponry. The Poles and Lithuanians lost 10 men and 60 wounded. it was a complete route'


This was what was happening in France 1601 when on 14 November, 1601 a baby boy was born in an obscure village called Ri, near Argentan North Western France from the region of Normandy. His Parents, Isaac and Martha Corbin had seven children, John had four sisters and two brothers.


These children were raised in a strong Catholic home despite all the chaos surrounding them. On May 26, 1613 John received his first Holy Communion at by age 14 he took a vow to remain chaste.


St. John Eudes was taught by the Jesuits where he joined the Oratorians on 25 March 1623. He continued to learn his faith as he grew being taught by the best of his time like Pierre de Berulle and Charles de Condren. John developed a great love for the Lord Jesus Christ and spent much time in adoration pursuing the Lord through the Holy Spirit. He was ordained a subdiaconateby Bishop jacques Camus de Pontcarre on 21 December 1624.

The following year, on 20 December 1625, St. John Eudes was ordained a priest at age 24. Because of the plagues of 1627 and 1631, St. John Eudes lived in a huge wine barrel in the middle of a field. He did so because he did not want to cause the plague to hit his fellow religious. He laboriously worked to help the sick. St. John administered the Sacraments and ensuring the dead received a proper burial. At age 32 he became a parish missionary conducting over 100 missions reaching many through his preaching and listening confessions.


St. John also recognized the great need to transform seminaries which were in great need. Cardinal Richelieu approved of his work but the general superior of the order disapproved. As a result, St. John left the order. Ultimately, he formed a new community that became known as the Eudists - the Congregation of Jesus and Mary. A major work was to reform diocesan seminaries. This was opposed by a heretical sect known as the Jansenists but that did not stop his resolve.

St. John Eudes sought to help the problem of prostitutes who sought to escape their plight. He founded shelters for these women but because of the conditions of the environment, In 1641, St. John founded a new community, "the Sisters of Charity of the Refuge."


For the education and rehabilitation of delinquent girls and women, this became his motto:


"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.


“If you love the things of this earth, says St. Agustine, you become earthly. If you love divine things, you become heavenly. So, love the Holy of holies and you will become holy. Love God and you will become one with God by participation and resemblance.” St. John stated:

"You must never separate what God has so perfectly united. So closely are Jesus and Mary bound up with each other that whoever beholds Jesus sees Mary; whoever loves Jesus, loves Mary; whoever has devotion to Jesus, has devotion to Mary." St. John established the first feasts in their honor, for which he wrote the mass and office.


Despite plagues and war, God can raise great Saints that becomes the character of a nation. When we allow God to work in our lives, great things can and does happen.