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Like the Apostles...

He found them asleep



A life devoted entirely to Missions

Melchior de Marion Bresillac 1813 - 1859

He was born December 2, 1813 in Castelnaudary, in the diocese of Carcassonne, or southern France. Eldest of five children of a Christian family quite proven by the French Revolution, it was his father who cares for his schooling until he entered the minor seminary in 1832, rhetoric class. Ordained a priest in December 1838, he was first curate at St. Michael Parish in his hometown. There will not even three years; Indeed, in order to fully follow his vocation, he decided to devote himself fully to the mission "ad gentes". To do this, he must overcome the resistance of his bishop who ends up giving his consent; but the opposition of his father is so strong that he left for the Seminary of Foreign Missions of Paris without even greeting his family. He stayed there nine months and was appointed in India, Pondicherry, where he arrived on July 24th 1842.

Successively based in Salem, then superior of Pondicherry-college seminar and finally Prussian bishop and Provicar then Vicar Apostolic of Coimbatore, Melchior Brésillac wants to train Indian priests; he wants a native clergy, with its own hierarchy, able to assume responsibility for missions where the Europeans would be only auxiliary. The question of castes and, more generally, adaptation to the customs of India were due to discrepancy between missionaries. Bishop Brésillac wanted more clarity in pastoral practice. Rectitude of conscience, together with the problems of people, led him to resign is accepted in Rome in March 1855.

His willingness to serve missions remains strong. He decided to devote himself to "the most abandoned people of Africa" and, returning to Rome in early 1856, he offers himself for Dahomey. On January 15, he wrote to Mr. Vian: "The Sacred Congregation would see me happy to open this new mission; but she does not want me to go alone; they promise to do for that a missionary Society. "He will now put all its forces for the foundation.

The Society of African Missions was officially born in Lyon December 8, 1856 and she accepts the new Apostolic Vicariate of Sierra Leone in 1858. It was there that go from two priests and a brother in November of that year. Accompanied by two other missionaries, Bishop Brésillac join the May 14, 1859, when rampant in Freetown a serious outbreak of yellow fever that prevail on June 25, less than two months after his arrival.

Since January 1928, his remains rest at the entrance to the chapel of the house of African Missions in Lyons.

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