In a letter written to his brother Pamphile on 23 August 1864, Saint Joseph Damien de Veuster said of his near contemporary, Saint John Vianney,
If Providence were to send us a holy priest like the Curé d'Ars, these stray sheep would soon be gathered in. Among the volcanoes of Puna I should wish above all to have that pure love of God, that ardent zeal for the salvation of souls, with which M. Vianney, the Curé d'Ars, was inflamed.As I continue to consider yesterday's sad and reprehensible vote by the United States Senate to continue funding Planned Parenthood despite the recent revelations of their despicable practices, I cannot but wonder how the vote might have gone if we had not just one priest like Saint John Vianney, but many (Senator Durbin [D-IL], a Catholic, voted against S. 1881 to prohibit the federal funding of Planned Parenthood).
The holy priest of Ars spent his life crying out to God, saying, "Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned" and himself did penance for sinners both repentant and unrepentant (see Psalm 51:3). Truly, as a nation we have sinned, and sinned greatly, as yesterday's vote clearly shows and we - priests and laity, but especially priests - must follow Saint John Vianney's example and do penance for sinners repentant and unrepentant.
Let us beg the Lord to raise more shepherds after the heart after Saint John Vianney, not just one, but many, so that the stray sheep might be gathered again into the fold of the Good Shepherd.