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Saint Peter Julian Eymund

 

Also known as Peter Julian Eymard, Pierre-Julien Eymard

Memorial 2 August

Profile Peter grew up in a poor family during the anti-clerical, anti-Catholic aftermath of the French Revolution. His first attempt at the priesthood, against his family's wishes, ended when he had to withdraw from seminary due to illness; he never completely recovered his health. He returned, however, and was ordained on 20 July 1834 in the diocese of Grenoble, France. Joined the Marist Fathers on 20 August 1839. Friend of Saint John Mary Vianney. Provincial superior of the Society of Mary in 1845. Peter had a strong Marian devotion, and travelled to the assorted Marian shrines and apparition sites in France. Organized lay societies under the direction of the Marists, preached and taught, and worked for Eucharistic devotion. He felt a call to found a new religious society, and founded the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament in 1856, and the lay Servants of the Blessed Sacrament in 1858. His work encountered a series of setbacks, including have to close his nascent houses and move twice, and the houses not being able to support themselves financially. However, his vision of priests, deacons, sisters, and lay people dedicated to the spiritual values celebrated in the Mass and prayer before the Blessed Sacrament anticipated many of the renewals brought about by Vatican Councils I and II. Late in life, during a lengthy retreat in Rome, he became more mystical as he came in closer communion with the love of Christ. Six volumes of his personal letters, and nine volumes of his meditations have been printed in English.

Born 4 February 1811 at La Mure, France

Died 1 August 1868 following a stroke Venerated 11 August 1908

Beatified 1925

Canonized 9 December 1962 by Pope John XXIII

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