On June 6, 1658, first apostolic vicars embarked for Asia following the steps of FrancisXavier, Matteo Ricci and Alexandre de Rhodes. TheseGod’sadventurers, true founders of Paris Foreign Missions, wanted to announce the Gospel to the people of Asia, a continent where two out of three people in the world live today.
Since this date, over 4,300 MEP priests have followed them to found dioceses, translate Bible, write dictionaries and grammarbooksin sixty Asian languages… Many of these missionaries were martyred. Twenty-three of them, serving the Churches of Vietnam, Korea and China, were canonized by the Catholic Church as examples to catholicsof the whole world. These priests are not saints because they suffered extreme violence for their faith, but because they gave their lives freely to spread the Good News, whichis proclaimed to this dayin a continent which, according to John Paul II, represents the greatest challenge to the Church in the 21stcentury. A continent to which MEP Society continues to send priests and laypeople as witnesses.
SAINT LAURENT IMBERT
Mgr Laurent Imbert,Joseph-Marius, bishop of Capse, martyr in Korea, was born on March 23, 1796, in the farm of Bricart, in Marignane (Bouches-de-Rhône)…
SAINT JACQUES CHASTAN
CHASTAN, Jacques-Honoré (Le Ve), martyr inKorea, was born at Marcoux (Basses-Alpes), on October 7, 1803. He began his studies at Brusquet, continued in the minorseminary inEmbrun, and finished at the majorseminary inDigne.
SAINT PIERRE DUMOULIN-BORIE
“I must warn you that I will follow my vocation wherever it calls me, even to MEP”.This is what Pierre Dumoulin-Borie, young correzian, born on February 20, 1808, at Beynat, declared to his parents when he informed them his intention to join SacredOrders.
SAINT FRANÇOIS JACCARD
François Jaccard was born on September 6, 1799, at Onion, in Haute-Savoie. His parents had him, their first child, after twenty years of marriage, and saw in his birth, a “sign of the Lord”; this child would probably become a priest.
SAINT JEAN-CHARLES CORNAY
“Allow me to go to Paris, I will stay there for at least three years and I will have all the time totestmy vocation, and all the means to prepare for it if it is true.” That was how Jean-Charles Cornay, born on February 27, 1809, at Loudon (Vienne), tried to convince his mother to let him follow the Lord’s call to Paris Foreign Missions.
SAINT JOSEPH MARCHAND
According to his colleagues, he was “reserved without hiding it, serious without restraint, simple and joyfulwithout exaggeration”. His reserve, however, made him hide a secret that he revealed to only one confidant: his younger brother Jean-Baptiste who also wanted to become a priest.
SAINT FRANÇOIS-ISIDORE GAGELIN
François-Isidore Gagelin was born on May 10, 1799, at Monperreux, in Doubs. He was baptized, discreetly, by a refractory priest, on July 14. His father died when he was two years old, and his two elder sisters took care of him. From the age of five, he announced his desire to become a priest.
SAINT AUGUSTIN SCHOEFFLER
“Christians do not dethrone kings, even during times of persecution. You will learn what their fidelity is like when you reign one day.”
SAINT JEAN-LOUIS BONNARD
Jean-Louis Bonnard was born on March 1, 1824 and was baptized the same day at Saint-Christôt-en-Jarezchurch, in Loire.
SAINT THÉOPHANE VENARD
At the beginning of 1861, he died at the age of 31, the favorite martyr of Saint Therese ofLisieux: Jean-Théophane Vénard.