Melchior De Marion Brésillac (1813-1859) – Founder of the SMA
A life totally consecrated to the Missions
2 December 1813: Born in Castelnaudary, Carcassonne, France.
December 1838: Ordained priest.
1838-1841: Curate in Castelnaudary.
1841: Joined Paris Foreign Mission Society.
1842: Pondicherry, India; Curate at Salem; Superior, Minor Seminary of Pondicherry.
1846: Ordained Bishop (Pro-Vicar and, later, Vicar Apostolic of Coimbatore, with the title of Bishop of Pruse).
1855: Resignation and return to Rome.
January 1856: Volunteered to work in Dahomey: On 15 January Mgr de Brésillac wrote: “The Sacred Congregation would be pleased to see me opening this new mission; but it does not want me to go alone; they want me to found a Society of missionaries for this work.” From that moment he set out with all his energy to achieve that purpose.
8 December 1856: The Society of African Missions was officially founded in Lyons, France.
1858: SMA given responsiblity for the new Vicariate Apostolic of Sierra Leone. Two priests and a brother sent out for that mission.
14 May 1859: Accompanied by two more missionaries, Mgr de Brésillac arrived in Freetown to join them. Yellow Fever epidemic was raging in Freetown.
25 June 1859: He died as a result of that fever – six weeks after his arrival in Africa.
Since January 1928, his mortal remains are interred in the chapel of the Society of African Missions [SMA] in Lyons. The Cause for his Canonisation has been introduced and investigations are underway as well as the writing of a comprehensive account of his life, virtues and vocation.
Prayer for the Canonisation of Bishop Melchior de Marion Brésillac
Lord God, you called Melchior de Marion Brésillac to serve you. To make you known and loved you sent him to India and then to Africa. For you, he gave everything, even his very life. So that his life and teaching may inspire a missionary commitment in Christians today, we trust that the Church will recognize the holiness of this great servant of mission and that by his intercession we will receive the graces of which we have need (namely…) We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [with Ecclesiastical approval]
Those persons who wish to make known graces or favours received through the intercession of the Servant of God are asked to write directly to the following address: Rev Fr Postulator SMA Missioni Africane Via della Nocetta 111 00164 ROMA ITALY Fax number: +39-06-66 16 84 90