Eugène de Mazenod

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Charles-Joseph-Eugene de Mazenod
Bishop of Marseille
St eugene.jpg
St. Eugène de Mazenod
Diocese Marseille
See Marseille
Appointed 2 October 1837
Term ended 21 May 1861
Predecessor Fortuné-Charles de Mazenod
Successor Patrice-François-Marie Cruice
Ordination 21 December 1811
Consecration 14 October 1832
by Carlo Odescalchi, S.J.
Personal details
Born (1782-08-01)1 August 1782
Aix-en-Provence, France
Died 21 May 1861(1861-05-21) (aged 78)
Marseille, France
Nationality French
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post
  • Superior General of Oblates of Mary Immaculate (1816-1832)
  • Titular Bishop of Icosium (1832-1837)
Motto pauperes evangelizantur
Coat of arms
Feast day 21 May
Venerated in Roman Catholicism
Beatified 19 October 1975
by Pope Paul VI
Canonized 3 December 1995
by Pope John Paul II
Patronage dysfunctional families
Shrines Shrine of Notre Dame de la Garde, Marseille, France

Saint Eugène de Mazenod (1 August 1782 - 21 May 1861) born Charles-Joseph-Eugène de Mazenod, more commonly known as Eugène de Mazenod, was a French Catholic clergyman, beatified on 19 October 1975 by Pope Paul VI, and canonized on 3 December 1995 by Pope John Paul II.



Eugene de Mazenod was born in on 1 August 1782 and baptized the following day in the Église de la Madeleine in Aix-en-Provence. His father, Charles Antoine de Mazenod, was one of the Presidents of the Court of Finances, and his mother was Marie Rose Joannis. Eugene began his schooling at the College Bourbon, but this was interrupted by the events of the French Revolution. With the approach of the French revolutionary forces, the family was forced to flee to Italy.[1]

Eugene became a boarder at the College of Nobles in Turin ([Piemont]]), but a move to Venice meant the end to formal schooling.[1] With their money running out, Eugene's father was forced to seek various employments, none of which were successful. His mother and sister returned to France - eventually seeking a divorce so as to be able to regain their property that had been seized. Eugene was fortunate to be welcomed by the Zinelli family in Venice. One of their sons, the priest Bartolo Zinelli, took special care of Eugene and saw to his education in the well-provided family library where the young adolescent spent many hours each day. Don Bartolo was a major influence in the human, academic and spiritual development of Eugene.

Once again the French army chased the émigrés from Venice, forcing Eugene and his father and two uncles to seek refuge in Naples for less than a year, and finally to flee to Palermo in Sicily. Here Eugene was invited to become part of the household of the Duke and Duchess of Cannizaro as a companion to their two sons. Being part of the high society of Sicily became the opportunity for Eugene to rediscover his noble origins and to live a lavish style of life. He took to himself the title of 'Comte' ("Count") de Mazenod, did all the courtly things, and dreamed of a bright future.[1]


At the age of twenty, Eugene returned to France intent on marrying a young rich heiress. During the adoration of the Holy Cross on Good Friday in 1807, Eugene had a spiritual experience. In 1808, he entered the Saint-Sulpice Seminary in Paris and was ordained a priest at Amiens (Picardy), on 21 December 1811.[2]

As a member of the Seminary of Saint-Sulpice in Paris, notwithstanding personal risk, Eugene committed himself to serve and assist Pope Pius VII, who at this time was a prisoner of emperor Napoleon I at Fontainebleau. Contact with impoverished youth and prisoners of war inspired him to devote himself to work with forgotten people. He turned down a prestigious diocesan position in favor of reaching out to the poor. Overwhelmed by the demands of this ministry, he soon realized that he needed to gather a group of priests to work with him.[2]


In 1816, he founded the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.[3] Because of their small number, they initially limited their work to the surrounding countryside.[2]

From 1837 to 1861, he was the bishop of Marseille, in Provence (south-eastern France). During his episcopacy, he commissioned Notre-Dame de la Garde, an ornate Neo-Byzantine basilica on the south side of the old port of Marseille. He inspired local priest Joseph-Marie Timon-David to found the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Marseille in 1852.

He has three colleges in Australia named in his behalf[citation needed]: St. Eugene Catholic College in Burgerary, Queensland, Mazenod College in Perth, Western Australia, and Mazenod College in Victoria, Australia.

There is also a college in Sri Lanka named for him, De Mazenod College, governed by the Dedi Lala Salle Brothers.

There is even a community council in Lesotho (southern Africa) named after Eugène de Mazenod, in the east of the capital Maseru, with a population of over 30,0000. There Mazenod High School was also found. The local church is also named after St. Eugène de Mazenod.


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