Eugene of Mazenod

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Eugene of Mazenod

Charles Joseph Eugene de Mazenod OMI (German Karl Joseph Eugene Mazenod * 1. August 1782 in Aix-en-Provence , † 21st May 1861 in Marseille ) was a Catholic saint , the Mission Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate brought to life .



Eugen von Mazenod was born on August 1, 1782 in Aix-en-Provence, the son of Charles-Antoine de Mazenod, Chairman of the Audit Office. Coming from a Provencal noble house, his family fled to Italy before the French Revolution . After a short time in Nice, Eugène de Mazenod lived in Turin until 1794 . Further stops were Venice and Naples . In Palermo , Eugene lived the life of a young nobleman and initially alienated himself from faith. Still under Napoleon , he returned to France in 1802 at the request of his mother to secure his family's property.

Study and ordination

While his mother was looking to find a suitable wife for him, Eugen experienced a time of boredom and indecision. Faced with the decline of the Church in France and moved by a mystical experience before the Crucified on Good Friday 1807, he decided to become a priest . On October 12, 1808, he entered the St. Sulpice seminary , where the aged Jacques-André Émery impressed and shaped him. Here he made friends with the like-minded seminarist Charles-Auguste-Marie-Joseph de Forbin-Janson (1785–1844), later Bishop of Nancy and founder of the Papal Children's Mission, both of whom were enthusiastic about the missionary idea. Mazenod received the ordination as subdeacon on December 22, 1810 and the ordination as deacon on June 16, 1811. Since he did not want to be ordained a priest by Cardinal Jean-Siffrein Maury , who was on Napoleon's side, he received on 21. december 1811 in Amiens by Jean-François de Mandolx , the Bishop of Amiens , the ordination . First he returned to the St. Sulpice seminary, where he took over the post of director after the Sulpizians were driven out . In 1813 he returned to Aix. There he founded a youth congregation, worked as a pastor among Austrian prisoners of war and preached in the Church of St. Magdalena for ordinary employees in the local dialect in Provençal .

Establishing the Oblates of the Immaculate Virgin Mary (OMI)

Eugene of Mazenod as Archbishop of Marseilles

Already at the beginning of his priestly ministry he realized that he needed comrades-in-arms to preach the Gospel and founded the Missionaries of Provence, a small diocesan congregation of priests whose aim was to lead the rural population of Provence back to the faith. Together with some other priests, he began community life on January 25, 1816 in the former Carmel in Aix. One of his first companions was Henry Tempier , with whom he made a mutual vow of obedience on April 11, 1816. At first the missionaries devoted themselves mainly to preaching popular missions . With the founding of a second monastery in Notre-Dame du Laus in 1818 it became necessary to write a rule of the order. The community was founded on February 17, 1826 as "Oblates of the Immaculate Virgin Mary" by Pope Leo XII. approved.

Vicar General and Bishop of Marseille

As early as 1817, Eugen von Mazenod campaigned for his uncle Charles Fortuné von Mazenod to become Bishop of Marseille . He was able to take office in 1823, but did so on the condition that Eugen von Mazenod became vicar general in his diocese. At the urging of his uncle, Eugene accepted the office of auxiliary bishop . So he was by Pope Gregory XVI. appointed bishop in partibus of Icosium and consecrated bishop on October 14, 1832 by Cardinal Carlo Odescalchi in the Church of St. Silvester in Rome. Since the French state did not agree to the consecration, Eugene von Mazenod was initially stripped of his citizenship. After four years he was rehabilitated. When he resigned in 1837, Fortuné von Mazenod insisted that his nephew succeed him as Bishop of Marseille. As a bishop he established numerous male and female communities in his diocese, campaigned for a renewal of the life of the priests and founded and supported numerous social works. He initiated the construction of the new cathedral in Marseille and the Notre-Dame de la Garde church . On June 24, 1856 he was by Napoleon III. Appointed senator, a sign of the new and better relationship between church and state. In 1859 he was proposed for cardinal nomination. However, due to new tensions between the French state and the Church, the appointment did not take place.

Superior General of the Missionary Oblates of the Immaculate Virgin Mary (OMI)

Statue of Eugène de Mazenod in the Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica

Eugen von Mazenod also remained Superior General of the Oblates of the Immaculate Virgin Mary until the end of his life. Under his leadership, the community not only expanded in the various dioceses of France, but also reached beyond Europe to Canada , the USA , the island of Ceylon ( Sri Lanka ) and South Africa . Today the Catholic Missons Fellowship works in 67 countries.


Eugene von Mazenod died on May 21, 1861 in Marseilles with his confreres. On his deathbed he left his spiritual testament to his community: “Among you love, love, love and outwardly zeal for the salvation of souls”. His tomb is in the Lady Chapel in the apse of the new cathedral in Marseille.


His beatification took place on October 19, 1975 by Pope Paul VI. , the canonization on December 3rd, 1995 by Pope John Paul II. His feast day is May 21st .


Web links

Commons : Eugen von Mazenod  - collection of images, videos and audio files
predecessor Office successor
Charles Fortuné of Mazenod Bishop of Marseille
Patrice Cruice
--- Superior General of the Oblati Mariae Immaculatae
Joseph Fabre