The research done on the occasion of the Bicentenary of the Foundation of the Missionaries of Provence allowed us to discover the portrait of Father Jean-François Sébastien Deblieu, one of the first companions of Saint Eugene de Mazenod. It is really a great gift of the Jubilee, because until now the Oblates had no portrait of Father Deblieu.
Priestly ordination of Fr. Deblieu
Fr. Deblieu lithographic portrait was offered to the Oblates by Mr. Georges Eyssautier with the following inscription: “Great grandson of Leonie Eyssautier, born Deblieu, I offer this lithographic portrait of his uncle, Messire Jean-François Sébastien Deblieu, Canon Emeritus of the Cathedral of Fréjus, Pastor and Dean of La Seyne in the same diocese, one of the first and valiant companions of Saint Eugene de Mazenod, to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate of Aix, to perpetuate his memory. December 6, 2015.”
Fr. Jean-François Sébastien Deblieu, was ordained a priest in Aix in February 1813, he was one of the first five companions of the Founder. He participated in at least 17 of 40 missions preached by the Missionaries of Provence. In 1823 he left the Congregation, but he remained a very good priest and occupied many important posts in the diocese of Fréjus, his diocese of origin.
Krzysztof ZIELENDA, OMI
CIEM is an organization created in November 2011, subject to the provisions of French law of July 1st , 1901. Its purpose is to help publicize the work and thought of St. Eugene de Mazenod, Founder of the Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the universal reach of his message through linking with any person or entity with an interest in the work of St. Eugene. CIEM also wants to preserve and maintain the historical space, the cradle of the Congregation, located at 54, 56, 58 and 60 cours Mirabeau in Aix-en-Provence.
The association is composed of legal members, active members and associate members. Legal members are the Vicar General, General Treasurer and General Counsel for Europe of the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Active members are the Oblates of the Aix community and associate members are naturally and morally became members for one year in order to benefit from the service provided and the provisions of the association.
(See Statutes CIEM)
It is not the largest building on Mirabeau avenue, but the interior is richly adorned in 18th century style: white and gold wainscoting, intertwined garlands on the ceilings, plastered walls, painted pier-glasses, etc. “This house, which his family was to leave forever in 1790, would always remain the cherished, but sad, symbol of his family life shattered by the upheaval of the Revolution and the symbol of his personal life disrupted in its very prime.” (LEFLON, I, p. 35) It was in this house that Eugene’s father and his two uncles were born. And, in the following generation, Eugene and his two sisters, the eldest Charlotte Élisabeth Eugénie, who died at five years of age and the youngest, Charlotte Eugénie Antoinette. To care for this little group of people, there were twelve servants. Their way of life was that of the rich nobility prior to the Revolution, but from his very infancy, Eugene was subjected to the threat of the Revolution. For example, on December 14, 1790, he could see across from his house the bodies of two of his father’s friends, executed by the revolutionaries and hung from the street lamps. At present, this house is occupied by a store and rented apartments.
René MOTTE, OMI
THE KEY EVENTS IN HIS LIFE
1782 : birth in Aix-en-Provence
1791 : forced into exile in Italy by the French Revolution
1802 : return to France
1808 : he enters the seminary of Saint-Sulpice, Paris, to study for the priesthood
1811 : he is ordained priest
1812 : return to Aix. He does not go to a parish, but dedicates his ministry to those who are not touched by the structures of the Church : the poor who speak Provencal, the youth, the prisoners, the inhabitants spread out in the small villages
1816 : he founds the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (originally called Missionaries of Provence)
1823 : named Vicar General of Marseille
1832 : ordained Bishop of Icosia, but with residence in Marseille
1837 : named Bishop of Marseille
1841 : he sends the first Oblate missionaries to Canada, England and Ireland
1861 : he dies on May 21
1975 : he is beatified by Pope Paul VI, as a missionary on fire for Jesus Christ and the Church
1995 : he is canonized by Pope John Paul II
TODAY, his missionary spirit is continued by some 4000 Oblates, missionaries in 64 countries, and by thousands of faithful lay people in the Mazenodian family around the world, and by the members of 44 Institutes of Consecrated Life who are connected to his charism.
Many find St. Eugene to be an intercessor for families in difficulty.
To learn more, visit the web site, or subscribe to the meditations : Eugene Speaks to Us!