Portrait of Saint John Eudes – 1673.
14 November 1601|
Ri, Normandy, Kingdom of France
19 August 1680 (aged 78)|
Caen, Normandy, Kingdom of France
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||25 April 1909, Saint Peter's Basilica, Kingdom of Italy by Pope Pius X|
|Canonized||31 May 1925, Saint Peter's Basilica, Kingdom of Italy by Pope Pius XI|
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Saint John Eudes (French: Jean Eudes) (14 November 1601 – 19 August 1680) was a French Roman Catholic priest and the founder of both the Eudists and the Order of Our Lady of Charity. He was also a professed member from the Oratory of Jesus and was the author of the proper for the Mass and Divine Office of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin. Eudes was an ardent proponent of the Sacred Hearts and dedicated himself to its promotion and celebration; the Masses he compiled for both Sacred Hearts were later said for the first time both in his lifetime. He preached missions across France including Paris and Versailles while becoming known as a popular evangelist as well as a sought-out confessor and preacher. Father Eudes was also a prolific writer and wrote on the Sacred Hearts while also condemning the Jansenists in favour of full support for the pope.
Jean Eudes was born on 14 November 1601 on a farm close to the village of Ri to Isaac Eudes (born circa 1566) and Martha Corbin; he had four sisters and two brothers. One brother the historian François (1610-10.07.1683) and the last child was Charles. Circa 1615 he took a private vow aged fourteen to remain chaste and he made his First Communion on 26 May 1613 (Pentecost).
Eudes studied under the Jesuits at Caen before he decided to join the Oratorians on 25 March 1623. His masters and models in the spiritual life were Pierre de Bérulle (who welcomed him into the order) and the contemplative and ascetic Charles de Condren. As a student of de Bérulle he became a member of the French school that was a Christocentric approach to spiritual affairs which was characterized with a strong sense of adoration in addition to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and a road to greater discovering the dimensions of the Holy Spirit. Bishop Jacques Camus de Pontcarré inducted Eudes into the subdiaconate on 21 December 1624.
Eudes was ordained to the priesthood on 20 December 1625 and he celebrated his first Mass at Christmas. He was sent to Aubervilliers for his theological studies and returned to Séez in 1627. It was almost straight after his ordination that he came down with an illness that kept him bedridden until 1626. During severe plagues in 1627 and 1631 he volunteered to care for the stricken in his own diocese and went about committing himself to the sick while administering the sacraments and ensuring the dead received a proper burial. He did this with the permission of his Oratorian superiors. To avoid infecting his colleagues he lived in a huge cask in the middle of a field during the plague. In 1633 he became part of the parish missions and preached over 100 parish missions throughout his own region as well as in Ile-de-France and Burgundy and also in Brittany. Jean-Jacques Olier referred to Eudes as "the prodigy of his age". Father Eudes became a noted preacher and confessor with a flair for evangelization and his missions often lasted from several weeks to several months; he preached three in Paris and one in Versailles. Eudes even preached once for Anne of Austria though her son King Louis XIV once suspected that Eudes was hostile towards his Gallican policies. He was also quite concerned about the spiritual improvement of priests and realized that the seminaries needed to better addressed. He founded several seminaries in the region including in Rennes. In 1674 he received six papal bulls of indulgences from Pope Clement X for confraternities and seminaries dedicated to the Sacred Hearts.
In his work he became disturbed when he saw the situation of those prostitutes who sought to escape that life. Shelters were found for them but the arrangements were not adequate enough. Madeleine Lamy – who had cared for some of those women – came up to him on one occasion and challenged Eudes to address the issue. In 1641 he founded the Order of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge in Caen to provide a refuge for prostitutes who wished to do penance. Three Visitation nuns came to his aid for a brief period and in 1644 a house was opened at Caen. Other ladies joined them and on 8 February 1651 the Bishop of Bayeux gave the institute his diocesan approbation. The congregation received papal approval from Pope Alexander VII on 2 January 1666. It later also included a convent from which – in 1829 – Mary Euphrasia Pelletier established the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd.
With the support of Cardinal Richelieu and a number of individual bishops (as well as the order's superior general) he severed his connection with the Oratorians to establish the Eudists for the education of priests and for the parish missions. This congregation was founded at Caen on 25 March 1643. But the succeeding Oratorian superior general disapproved of this prompting Eudes to leave the order in 1643. Eudes also founded the Society of the Most Admirable Mother which acted as a sort of Third Order which would later count among its members Jeanne Jugan and Amelie Fristel.
Eudes was influenced from the teachings of the French school and from Saint Francis de Sales but more so as set out in the Treatise on the Love of God; the revelations of Saint Gertrude and Saint Mechtilde were also influences and so acted so to speak as the theoretician of devotion to the Sacred Heart and explained the expressions of his predecessors. Bérulle's devotion to the Incarnate Word won him over and he combined with it the gentleness and devotional warmth of Saint Francis de Sales. He changed the somewhat individual and private character of the devotion into a devotion for the whole Church when he wrote for the benefit of his communities an Office and a Mass which later received approval from several bishops before spreading throughout the Church. For this reason Pope Leo XIII – in proclaiming Eudes' heroic virtues later in 1903 – gave him the title of "Author of the Liturgical Worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Holy Heart of Mary". Eudes dedicated the chapels of the Caen and Coutances seminaries to the Sacred Heart. The feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God was celebrated for the first time on 8 February 1648 and that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on 20 October 1672 each as a double of the first class with an octave. He composed various rosaries and prayers dedicated to the Sacred Hearts. His book "Le Cœur Admirable de la Très Sainte Mère de Dieu" is the first book ever written on the devotion to the Sacred Hearts.
Eudes died at Caen on 19 August 1680. He had drafted up his last will in April 1671 when his health started to decline. Eudes' remains were exhumed and transferred in 1810 and again for the last time on 6 March 1884.
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|Sacred Heart of Jesus|
The cause for canonization commenced in the Diocese of Séez in an informative process that commenced on 19 August 1868 and ended sometime later. The formal introduction to the cause came on 7 February 1874 under Pope Pius IX who titled Eudes as a Servant of God. Pope Leo XIII later confirmed – on 6 January 1903 – that Eudes had lived a life of heroic virtue and thus named him as Venerable. Pope Pius X later approved two miracles attributed to Eudes' intercession and beatified him on 25 April 1909 in Saint Peter's Basilica. The ratification of two more miracles enabled Pope Pius XI to preside over Eudes' canonization on 31 May 1925.
Doctor of the Church
The idea to have Eudes named as a Doctor of the Church was first proposed around World War II though the conflict and then the course of the Second Vatican Council caused the suspension of inquiries into such a path. But in January 2012 the General Assembly of the Eudists conceded that it was time for that path to be pursued once more. In the course of 2014–15 the episcopal conferences of France, Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador, Benin, Honduras, and Colombia gave their full support to this venture. The plenary session of the French Episcopal Conference on 8 November 2014 confirmed support for the cause of Eudes as a Doctor of the Church. On 3 December 2016 the then-Superior General of the Eudists Camilo Bernal Hadad and the Bishop of Le Puy-en-Velay Luc Crépy met with Pope Francis to discuss the idea.
Those managing the process collected evidence needed to support the idea and compiled it into a Positio dossier which included the reasons for the proposal as well as those spiritual works that would support it. This dossier was submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in April 2017 for them to evaluate.
Eudes taught about the mystical unity of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and wrote:
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.
The most striking characteristic of Eudes' teaching on Devotion to the Sacred Heart — as indeed of his whole teaching on the spiritual life — is that Christ is its centre at all times.
Views of the Popes
Pope Benedict XVI – in his General Audience catechesis on 19 August 2009 – praised Eudes as a "tireless apostle of the devotion of the Sacred Hearts" noting that Eudes was an example for priests during the Year for Priests. The pope went on to describe Eudes' "apostolic zeal" in the formation of seminarians into priests as well as the fact that Eudes was a model for evangelization and witness to the "love for Christ's Heart and Mary's Heart".
There is a statue dedicated to Eudes within Saint Peter's Basilica and Silvio Silva constructed the statue in 1932. It is located on the right side of the central nave.
Eudes wrote a number of books. His principal works are:
- La Vie et le Royaume de Jésus (The Life and Kingdom of Jesus – 1637)
- Le contrat de l'homme avec Dieu par le Saint Baptême (Contract of Man with God Through Holy Baptism – 1654)
- Le Bon Confesseur (The Good Confessor – 1666)
- Le Mémorial de la vie Ecclésiastique"
- Le Prédicateur Apostolique
- Le Cœur Admirable de la Très Sainte Mère de Dieu (the first book ever written on the devotion to the Sacred Hearts)
Notes and references
- "Saint John Eudes". Saints SQPN. 3 August 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
- Le Brun, Charles (1909). "Blessed Jean Eudes". The Catholic Encyclopedia (Volume 5; New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
- Steele, Francesca (1911). "Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge". The Catholic Encyclopedia (Volume 12; New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
- "St. John Eudes – Spiritual Father of the Good Shepherd Sisters". Good Shepherd Sisters. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
- "Jesus Living in Mary: Handbook of the Spirituality of Saint Louis de Montfort". Montfort Publications. 1994. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
- "Saint John Eudes". Santi e Beati. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
- "Our Founder Speaks..." The Eudist Fathers in the Philippines. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
- Fr. Don Miller, O.F.M. "Saint John Eudes". Franciscan Media. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
- "Benedict XVI – General Audience". Holy See. 19 August 2009. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
- Charles De Montzey, Life of the Venerable John Eudes, Cousens Press 2008, ISBN 1-4097-0537-4
- Butler's lives of the saints, Volume 4 by Alban Butler, Paul Burns, 1999 ISBN 0-86012-253-0 page 175
- P. Herambourg (1960) St. John Eudes
- Roman Catholic worship: Trent to today by James F. White, 2003 ISBN 0-8146-6194-7, page 34
- From Trent to Vatican II: historical and theological investigations by Raymond F. Bulman, Frederick J. Parrella, 2006 ISBN 0-19-517807-6, page 182
- Praying with the saints by Woodeene Koenig-Bricker, 2001 ISBN 0-8294-1755-9, page 134
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