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On February 9, 1818, a 32 year-old priest began his journey to Ars, France, with his few meager possessions. Ordained less than 3 years before, Fr. John Marie Baptist Vianney (1786 - 1859) was on route to take up his first pastoral assignment. Vianney's path to the priesthood had been marked by many uncertainties, failures and tears. Virtually failing his studies, his ordination had only come about because his close friend was able to pull some strings in the Diocese of Lyons. And even when ordained, few held any hopes for this illiterate, simple peasant. Assignments for new priests were based on their talents. It was not by accident, therefore, that Vianney was sent to what was considered "a Siberia for the clergy of the Lyons diocese." For a man to be sent to Ars was held by his brother priests as a disgrace.
And so, on that cold winter day, a young priest, barely ordained, was banished to a tiny, remote, impoverished village that had lost its faith and morals. It was clearly a recipe for failure. Anyone could see that ... but God had something else in mind!
A cinematic treasure has been found in the 1949 French Film, Le Sorcier du Ciel. Digitally remastered, The Wizard of Heaven tells the compelling and remarkable story of St. John Marie Baptist Vianney, the humble, pastor of Ars, France, who battled with the devil himself, not only for the Faith of his Parish, but even for that of his country. Starting with the Saint's arrival at Ars, this film brings to life the hardships, indifference, ridicule and opposition he encountered, as well as the zeal with which he strove to overcome them. Moreover, The Wizard of Heaven, captures an excellent portrayal of the incredible, ardent love for souls that consumed the heart of this noble priest and compelled him to the very heights of sanctity. Rightfully has the Church confided her priests to the care and guidance of the Cure of Ars, whose conquest of souls merited the following rebuke -
Vianney! How you make me suffer . . . If there were three more like you on earth, my kingdom would be destroyed - satan
French with English subtitles
90 minute runtime
Available for ALL REGIONS