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St. Eugene de Mazenod was born in France, at Aix en-Provence in 1782. Having experienced exile in Italy, he was struck, on returning to his own Country, by urgent needs of the church, so devastated by the French Revolution. Ordained a priest in 1811, he undertook a ministry to the poor and the youth in his native city, but very soon, in 1816, he felt called to bring around him a group of priests who would live together as brothers and devote themselves to preaching parish missions. This was the origin of the Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate which was approved by Pope Leo XII in 1826.

Made Bishop of Marseilles, France, in 1837, St. Eugene worked unceasingly for the progress of the Church in his diocese even as he was busy responding to appeals from bishops of faraway countries by sending his religious all over the world. He was a pastor impassioned by Jesus Christ and a wholehearted servant of the Church. He died at Marseilles on May 21, 1861.