Monday, August 19, 2013

The Unsung Marian Doctor, St. John Eudes

St. John Eudes is a name one hears little of nowadays, though few saints ever sung the praises of the Blessed Virgin Mary with such devotion as he did.  In a time where the Church was threatened from within by the heresy of Jansenism, St. John Eudes rose up as a staunch defender of the orthodox faith.  He remains one of the greatest French saints, and yet still remains virtually unmentioned in the modern Catholic world.  It's time to change this.

Now, when most Catholics think of the great saints who wrote beautifully and profoundly on the Virgin Mary, I think St. Bernard of Clairvaux and St. Louis de Montfort are the more common ones to be mentioned.  To be sure, St. Bernard's devotion to the Immaculate Virgin was tremendous, and few books have impacted the Catholic devotional world as that of St. Louis' True Devotion to Mary (if you don't already own it, you can pick it up here).

But it is St. John Eudes' work entitled The Admirable Heart of Mary that is a masterpiece.  In its pages, he delves into the spirituality behind the Immaculate Heart for the precise reason that "a study of her heart ultimately becomes a study of Jesus' heart."1  In my life, I have never encountered a saint who wrote on our Lady that had such an incredible, almost encyclopedic knowledge of the Fathers and saints of the Church. With astounding skill, St. John weaves together one of the greatest defenses of the Church's teachings on Mary ever written.

One must also mention that in his propagation of devotion to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary, he effectively combatted Jansenism, a heresy of the time that sought to cultivate Calvinist errors amongst the faithful, discouraged frequent Holy Communion, and the like.  In addition to this, he founded many orders (now commonly lumped under the umbrella term of "Eudists").

Much of our devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary nowadays is due to this holy saint, amongst others such as St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.  His intense piety, exemplary love of Christ, and profound insights on our Lady all make him a saint absolutely worth getting to know.

1 - William M. Thompson, qtd. in Berulle and the French School: Selected Writings, pg. 53


  1. I wish frequent communion would be discouraged today :/ If ya know what I mean.
    I love True may be my favorite work by a I'm definitely going to check out this book. It's free online...

  2. I've found several of St Eudes works here:

    Most are in french but the key works are available in english. There are some other interesting works listed on that site, too.

  3. 'The most evident mark of God's anger is the most terrible castigation He can inflict upon the world, is manifested when He permits his people to fall into the hands of clergy who are priests more in name than in deed. When God permits such things it is very positive proof that He is thoroughly angry with His people and is visiting His most dreadful anger on them. That is why He cries out unceasingly to Christians, return you rebellious Christians and I will give you pastors according to my own heart.'

    St. Jean Eudes

    'The air that we breathe, the bread that we eat, the heart which throbs in our bosoms, are not more necessary for man that he may live as a human being, than is prayer for the Christian that he may live as a Christian.'

    St. Jean Eudes

  4. exposition of 2 Thessalonians by johnchrysostom homily 4 in time
    check for works