On 8 December 1856, Bishop Melchior de Marion Brésillac founded the Society of African Missions when he, along with a small group of companions, ascended the hill at Fourviere near Lyons (France) to dedicate their missionary endeavour to Notre Dame de Fourviere.
His aim was to serve the most abandoned in Africa.
In May 1859 the Founder landed at Freetown, Sierra Leone. He, along with his companions, was to die there within 6 weeks. The SMA foundation in Sierra Leone was wiped out in what we call ‘the holocaust of Freetown’. In this year, the 156th anniversary of our foundation, the Society has returned to Freetown and is now re-establishing that presence.
Today, 8 December, SMA communities in their home countries and our missionaries in Africa celebrate the faith of this great missionary and seek to continue his work wherever we find ourselves. This work has been achieved through the grace of God and the support of thousands of people who are part of the wider SMA family: parents, family members, relatives, supporters and benefactors as well as the African communities who have welcomed us for more than 150 years.
Click here to read a complete biography of deBrésillac – from priest in France, to missionary and bishop in India, to his founding of the SMA and death in Freetown in 1859.
Today, we rejoice that He, who is mighty, has done great things for us.