There are a number of saintly priests who regularly spent 11-16 hours a day hearing confessions. The one we have in mind also: attended Mass in secret during the French Revolution; struggled with Latin and academics in general; had supernatural knowledge of souls; and drew tens of thousands of pilgrims every year to his obscure little parish in rural France.
Do you have a guess now?
Of course, we’re talking about the Curé of Ars, St. John Marie Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests. As his reputation as a confessor and spiritual director grew in Ars, he would spend 11, 12, even 16 hours a day hearing confessions.
Though they must have known that the good priest would not go easy on them—St. John had spiritual insight that sometimes crossed into supernatural knowledge of hidden sins—souls were drawn to him as to Christ Himself. St. John’s personal holiness, gentleness, practicality, and insight were spiritual bread to the hungry souls who desired God’s mercy and renewal.
So don’t let any fear of the confessional hold you back from the healing that Christ wants to give you. If you need a little nudge, another French priest—a contemporary of the Curé of Ars, in fact—has some help to give you. Confession: A Little Book for the Reluctant by Msgr. Louis Gaston de Ségur is a pocket-size guide to this great Sacrament, answering 30 common queries about it with kindness and wisdom. Less than $5, too! Get yours today at The Catholic Company!