Saint Eugene de Mazenod

St. Eugene de Mazenod (1782-1861) was born in southern France to a noble family. When he was eight years of age his family was forced to flee the turmoil of the French Revolution and seek political asylum in Italy. Leaving their possessions behind, the family struggled financially as they relocated from city to city. A sympathetic priest took it upon himself to educate Eugene and stir in him a love for God. The family returned to France when Eugene was twenty. They were distressed to find a dramatically altered society, and their social status no greater than ordinary citizens. The family was also plagued with in-fighting which culminated in divorce, a rarity at the time. While Eugene's father remained in Italy, Eugene's mother fought to regain the family's former possessions. She also attempted to force Eugene to marry a wealthy heiress. St. Eugene, deeply affected by how the Revolution had decimated the Church in France, decided to enter the seminary instead. After his ordination he sought out other zealous priests and together they went as missionaries into the countryside villages, calling themselves the "Missionaries of Provence," which was later approved by the pope as the "Oblates of Mary Immaculate." St. Eugene went on to become the Bishop of Marseilles. He did much work in restoring his diocese by building and repairing churches, doubling the number of priests, and bringing in religious communities. He also worked to weaken the government's monopoly on education, and supported the rights of the Holy See. Eugene de Mazenod is the patron saint of dysfunctional families. His feast day is May 21st.
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