May 21 – The last of his noble lineage, he started a spiritual one

May 18, 2020

St. Charles Joseph Eugene de Mazenod

St. Eugène de Mazenod

Bishop of Marseilles, and founder of the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, b. at Aix, in Provence, 1 August, 1782; d. at Marseilles 21 May, 1861. De Mazenod was the offspring of a noble family of southern France, and even in his tender years he showed unmistakable evidence of a pious disposition and a high and independent spirit. Sharing the fate of most French noblemen at the time of the Revolution, he passed some years as an exile in Italy, after which he studied for the priesthood, though he was the last representative of his family. On 21 December, 1811, he was ordained priest at Amiens, whither he had gone to escape receiving orders at the hands of Cardinal Maury, who was then governing the archdiocese of Paris against the wishes of the pope. After some years of ecclesiastical labours at Aix, the young priest, bewailing the sad fate of religion resulting among the masses from the French Revolution, gathered together a little band of missionaries to preach in the vernacular and to instruct the rural populations of Provence. He commenced, 25 January, 1816, his Institute which was immediately prolific of much good among the people, and on 17 February, 1826, was solemnly approved by Leo XII under the name of Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

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