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Saints sometimes exhibited mystical phenomena in the cognoscitive order such as visions, locutions, revelations, discernment of spirits, and hierognosis (ability to distinguish blessed from profane objects); cf. Antonio Royo Marín, O.P., Teología de la Perfección Cristiana p. 814.

Discernment of spirits in the sense of reading souls (as opposed to distinguishing good from evil spirits; cf. ibid. p. 826) would seem to include the ability to know what state of life God is calling a particular soul to.

What saints gifted with spiritual discernment were able to accurately determine what vocation God is calling someone to?

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    Down-voter, please explain your down-vote.
    – Geremia
    Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 23:18
  • 1
    I didn't down-vote, but I do think the question would be better if it included an example of such a saint. (Otherwise, how do we know that such events even exist?) Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 0:33
  • The Cure of Ars;, for example; read, for instances, chapters 26 and 28 of Trochu's definitive biography on the Saint. Many examples are presented in that book in which the Cure knew exactly the calling (religious or otherwise) of many individuals and the Order of which those with religious callings must join. Another example---St. Jean Jugan, foundress of Little Sisters of the Poor who knew that God was keeping her ``for a work which is not yet known, for a work which is not yet founded.'' Trochu's biography of this Saint is most informative on this matter.
    – DDS
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 2:55
  • Many Saints have had this gift of intuition. The Cure d'Ars, St. Padre Pio and many more
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 3:44
  • @I.Chekhov Yes, I'm familiar with Trochu's bio. Royo Marín, O.P., cites it as an example in Teología de la Perfección Cristiana p. 825. Your St. Jean Jugan example seems more like a private revelation than spiritual discernment.
    – Geremia
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 3:47

1 Answer 1

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St. John Vianney, the Curé of Ars, had the gift of reading souls when it came to helping someone discover his or her vocation.

  • Abbé Trochu, The Curé of Ars, ch. 26 "Les intuitions et les prédictions du Curé d’Ars" ("The intuitions and predictions of the Curé of Ars"), "Intuitions et prédictions diverses: sur des vocations au mariage ou à la vie religieuse" ("Various intuitions and predictions: regarding the vocations to marriage or to the religious life"), pp. 521-527,

discusses the saint's predictions of several people's vocations:

  1. The Curé of Ars knew that in marriage Mlle. Berlioux (younger sister of General of the Marist Sisters of Belley) "would find only thorns" and that she "will be received by the Sisters of St. Clare" where she "will persevere, […] die […], and […] go to Heaven." (ibid. p. 522).
  2. Mlle. Bossan was "to be married soon", but the Curé "burst into tears", telling her "how unhappy you will be!" and to "Enter at the Visitation", where he predicted she'd be < 50 years before dying; she died after 49 years there. (ibid. p. 522).
  3. Mlle. Hedwige Moizin desired the religious life, against her family's wishes, but the Curé predicted she would die within a year. (ibid. p. 522).
  4. Mlle. Bernard of Fareins thought she was called to be nun, but the Curé "unhesitatingly declared" she was not and predicted she'd die on Assumption day. (ibid. p. 523).
  5. M. Auguste Faure wanted to be a Jesuit, but the Curé said “stay where you are. Life is so short!” He died within a year. (ibid. p. 523).
  6. The Curé told Mlle. Louise Lebon "you will enter your convent" (ibid. pp. 523-4).
  7. The postulant Mlle. Ernestine Durand "was compelled to return home" by her family; she "lost both appetite and sleep", and the Curé predicted "the child was [to be] restored to the convent by her own mother" (ibid. p. 525).
  8. Josephte, daughter of Mile. Hedwige Moizin, seemed "just made for a convent"; her eldest daughter Anthelmette was thought "rather worldly". The Curé correctly predicted the complete opposite would come to pass: Josephte married, and Anthelmette became a nun! (ibid. pp. 525-6).
  9. The Curé left his confessional to tell the widow Baronne de Lacomble, who traveled to Ars, to let her two sons marry and that "they will be very happy!" (ibid. pp. 526-7).

King St. Louis IX did, too, as related in the biography of his confessor William of Chartres, O.P.: "‘Master William will toy with his position as treasurer for only five, maybe six years; but then he will enter into religion.’", which came to pass.

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