Bishop Marion deBrésillac founded the SMA in Lyon, France on 8 December 1856. Within three years he would be dead – a victim of Yellow Fever. Along with several companions he had arrived in Freetown in May 1859 and, within six weeks, would have succumbed to the dreaded Yellow Fever which was to claim so many young SMA lives in the early decades of the Society.
But still they joined, studied, prayed, travelled to Africa… and gave their young lives for the spread of the Gospel!
Today, despite the terrible toll of the early years, the SMA flourishes and indeed is growing. Over the past 30 years the Society has welcomed new blood into the Society – from many African countries, India, Philippines and Poland.
The Lord of the Harvest has certainly showered His blessings on the work of the early missionaries.
“The newly founded Society might have die with him and his companions, but strangely and in some providential way the opposite happened. New members joined and the Society grew in numbers and so the mission in Africa continued. Now today you are part of that mission. In remembering or in reading our history once again we too will be encouraged and we can also find a new sense of identity and inspiration from the life of our Founder and those early missionaries who followed in his footsteps. Remembering is the secret to renewing.”
Read the full text of The SMA remembers : 25 June
As we celebrate and give thanks to God for the the life and work of our Founder we must also remember all those who followed him as SMA members – seminarians, brothers, priests and bishops and – most of all – our families and the countless thousands of SMA supporters throughout the world who give of their prayers and finances to help us with our missionary work.
May God bless each and every one!