A play you’ve got to see Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler, editor   
Thursday, Sep. 03, 2009 -- 12:00 AM

editor's view

A one-man play on the life of St. John Vianney will be performed in the Madison and Milwaukee areas by actor Leonardo Defilippis. VIANNEY will be staged at St. John Vianney Parish in Janesville on Friday, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m. and at four other locations (see details below).

This play has been in the works for over two years, but coincidentally (or by divine inspiration), Pope Benedict XVI declared the Year for Priests in June under the patronage of St. John Vianney. So this play became even more appropriate for viewing.

Humble beginnings

What’s so great about St. John Vianney?  He had humble beginnings. He was born to a destitute family in France. As a child, he worked in the fields and tended sheep.

He wanted to be a priest, but even his seminary experiences weren’t very good. He struggled with his studies and nearly gave up. But he persevered because of his great desire to save souls. He was finally ordained and sent to Ars, a tiny village in France.

Powerful witness

There, too, things didn’t look promising. He discovered that many people didn’t go to church. Rather than be discouraged, he visited them in their homes, urging them to come to Mass. He prayed before the Blessed Sacrament and spent hours hearing confessions and teaching about the faith. He  brought the entire village back to church.

All the while, the devil tormented this holy priest, especially at night. At the end of St. John Vianney’s life, the devil reportedly told him, “You have defeated me.”

What a powerful witness this humble priest gives us today! I encourage people to attend this play and especially bring teenagers and young adults to learn about the life of this outstanding priest.

For more information

For more information on the play go to Following is a schedule of the performances in Wisconsin:

Tuesday, Sept. 8 — Basilica of St. Josaphat, 2333 S. 6th St., Milwaukee; information/tickets: Michael Scott, 414-645-5623, ext. 219

Wednesday, Sept. 9 — St. John Vianney Church, 1755 N. Calhoun Road, Brookfield; information/tickets: 262-796-3940

Thursday, Sept. 10 — Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians, 1525 Carmel Rd., Hubertus; information/tickets: Fr. Don Brick, 262- 347-9337 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Friday, Sept. 11 — St. John Vianney Church,1250 E. Racine St., Janesville; tickets/information: 608-752-8708

Saturday, Sept. 12 — Cousins Center, Mater Christi Chapel, 3501 S. Lake Drive, St. Francis; information/tickets: 414-747-6412