Venerable Pierre-Julien Eymard
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Founder of the Society of the Blessed Sacrament , and of the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament, born at La Mure d'Isère, Diocese of Grenoble , France, 4 February, 1811; died there 1 Aug., 1868. From early childhood he gave evidence of great holiness and most tender devotion to the Blessed Sacrament . In 1829, he entered the novitiate of the Oblates of Mary, but illness compelled him to return home. At the age of twenty he entered the grand seminary of Grenoble, and was ordained priest 20 July, 1834. He returned to the Marist novitiate in 1839. In 1845 he was appointed Provincial of the Oblates of Mary. His entire spiritual life was centred round the Eucharist. It was the subject of his sermons and exhortations, the object of his worship and prayers. Those who fell under his spiritual direction were taught by his counsel to fix their attention on the Blessed Sacrament.
In January of 1851 Père Eymard made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Fourvières, and there promised Mary to devote his life to founding a congregation of priests whose principal duty should be to honour the Blessed Sacrament. Having obtained the necessary ecclesiastical permission, he procured a small house in Paris, in which he and a single companion took up their abode. Here, on 6 Jan., 1857, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed, and the nascent community of two members commenced the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as prescribed by their rule. Their founder received his first encouragement for the work in a laudatory Brief, blessing the work and its author, and signed by Pius IX, in 1857. Five years after, in 1862, Père Eymard had enough spiritual sons to open a regular novitiate. From this date the congregation spread rapidly, until now its houses may be found in Rome, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Canada, the United States, and South America. The Servants of the Blessed Sacrament, a congregation of cloistered women who carry on perpetual adoration in their convents, were also founded by him in 1858. The Priests' Eucharistic League and the Archconfraternity of the Blessed Sacrament are evidences of his zeal among priests and the faithful. Père Eymard's writings have been collected, and form four volumes: "The Real Presence", which has been translated into English; Retreat at the Feet of Jesus Eucharistic", "La Sainte Communion", and "L'Eucharistie et la Perfection Chrétienne". These writings have received the approbation of the Holy See. The author was declared Venerable, 11 August, 1908, and the process for Père Eymard's beatification is now in progress.
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