The feast day of St. Eugene de Mazenod is celebrated on May 21.
St. Eugene Mazenod was born in Aixen Provence, France in 1782 on August 1. He was born into a wealthy family during the French Revolution. Because of the Revolution his family fled France and lived in exile for eleven years. His family life was filled with turmoil and fighting. Although Eugene tried to keep his family together, his parents eventually divorced. At the age of 20, Eugene returned to France. After having a mystical experience at the foot of the cross on Good Friday in 1807 Eugene was led to enter the seminary of Saint Sulpice in Paris in 1808. He was ordained a priest on Dec. 21, 1811 at Amiens, France.
As a priest, Eugene began by serving those in prison and the youth. He founded the Missionaries of Provence, asking the Pope directly that his group be recognized. It was approved by Pope Leo XII in 1826 under the name “Oblates of Mary Immaculate”. As Superior General St. Eugene led and inspired his missionaries for 35 years until his death. They worked with the youth, cared for shrines, worked in the prisons and heard confessions. Because of his zeal he earned the nickname, “the second Paul”.
In 1832, St. Eugene was named Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Marseilles. Five years later he became the Bishop. As Bishop, he sent his missionaries to Canada the United States, Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America. They would preach and baptize.
St. Eugene died at age 79. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1955. There are over 4000 Missionary Oblates in 67 countries today. St. Eugene de Mazenod is the patron saint of dysfunctional families.
In spiritual life, when you cease to climb, you begin to descend.
Quote of St. Bernard; Feast day August 20
May is the Month of Mary.