St. Eugene de Mazenod (1782-1861)
Founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Eugene was born in Aix-en-Provence, France. However, due to the French Revolution and his family being of the minor noble class, they were forced to flee to Italy as political refugees. Eugene and his family moved to various cities in an attempt to make a living, but often with little success. In time, the Duke and Duchess of Cannizzaro ended up taking them in. Eugene much enjoyed the taste of noble living, and he aspired to such for himself. However, when, at the age of twenty, Eugene did return to France, things had greatly changed and he had no noble status. Seeing the great devastation the Revolution had made upon the Church, Eugene began to discern a call to priesthood and was ordained. Instead of serving in a parish, Eugene dedicated himself to the works of the apostolate and serving all who were in need. Others joined him in this mission, and the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate was formed. Though initially small in number and only serving in France, Eugen sent his missionaries all over the world (they have played a large role in the history of the Church in Canada). In addition to overseeing the founding of this Congregation, Eugene also was given responsibilities in overseeing the resurrection of the Diocese of Marseilles, of which he became Bishop. In all these works, Eugene poured out his heart and soul for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. He died at the age of seventy nine, after many long years of faithful service.
O Lord our God, who in your mercy bestowed upon your Bishop Saint Eugene de Mazenod apostolic zeal to preach the Gospel to the nations, grant, we pray, that through his intercession we may be set aflame with the same spirit, our sight firmly fixed on the service of the Church and the salvation of the world.