Updated: Aug 19, 2021
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.
Saint Jean Eudes was a Priest and founder of both the Order of Our Lady of Charity and the Congregation of Jesus and Mary. He is also the author of the proper for the Mass and Divine Office of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin.
Saint Jean Eudes was born on November 14th, 1601 on a farm near the French village of Ri. In total he had four sisters and two brothers (one of which would be the famous historian Francois Eudes de Mezeray). He took his first Holy Communion on May 26th, 1613 (Pentecost) and undertook a vow of chastity at age 14. He then went on to study at Caen under Jesuits before joining the Oratorians on March 25th, 1623. His ordination to the sub diaconate came on December 21st, 1624, under Bishop Jacques Camus de Pontecarrer. His formal ordination to the priest hood came almost exactly one year later, December 20th, 1625 with his first mass being celebrated at Christmas.
In 1633 Saint Eudes began preaching parish missions with such zeal and commitment that Jean-Jacques Olier would refer to Saint Eudes as the prodigy of his age. His missions would last between weeks and months and went as far as preaching for Anne of Austria. Throughout his missions he began to grow concerned about the spiritual improvement of priests, especially that the seminaries were in dire need of improvement. Rather than simply commenting on this need he founded several seminaries throughout the region including a major one in Rennes. Pope Clement X granted him six papal bulls of indulges in 1674 for confraternities and seminaries dedicated to the Sacred Hearts.
In addition to addressing the need for more and better seminaries, Saint Eudes recognized the poor state of shelters being provided for prostitutes attempting to escape their profession. In 1641 he founded the Order of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge in Caen to help provide shelter for prostitutes escaping their lifestyle. On February 8th, 1651, the Bishop of Bayeux gave this institution his diocesan approbation and it received papal approval on January 2nd, 1666 by Pope Alexander VII.
Saint Eudes wrote for the benefit of his communities an Office and a Mass which would later receive approval from many Bishops and spread rapidly throughout the church. The feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God was celebrated for the first time on February 8th, 1648 and he would eventually compose various rosaries and prayers dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary. His book, Le Coeur Admirable de la Tres Sainte Mere de Dieu was the very first ever book written on the devotion to the Sacred Hearts.
Sadly Saint Eudes would die at Caen on August 19th, 1680. The cause for his canonization began almost immediately on August 19th, 1868. Pope Pius IX titled him a Servant of God on February 7th, 1874 and Pope Leo XIII had the title given to him as Venerable. On April 25th, 1909 in Saint Peter's Basilica, Pope Pius X approved two miracles attributed to his intercession and beatified him. Pope Pius XI then presided over his canonization on May 31st, 1925. His feast day is celebrated each year on August 19th.