St Phillip Benizi
PO Box 122 Siphofaneni
Missionariorum Sancti Francisci Salesii
Servant of God Fr. Peter Mermier, Founder of the MSFS
Born: 28 August 1790
Died: 30 September 1862.
The Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales (MSFS), also known as the Fransalians, was founded in Annecy, France on 24 October 1838 by Fr. Peter Mermier under the patronage of St. Francis de Sales. The political disturbances in the country, especially the French Revolution had its impact in the spiritual realm too as it left the people in a deep spiritual crisis and indifference towards their religious duties. The French Revolution had badly affected the Church in Savoy and many priests left the country while a few went in hiding. Peter’s parents, who were fervent Christians, risked their lives and property by welcoming the priests. The revolutionaries had closed Churches and schools.
Sensing the signs of the time Fr. Mermier took upon himself the task of a spiritual renewal in his people by preaching parish missions. This special apostolate in turn gave rise to a community of preachers gathered around Fr. Mermier. The people were indifferent to Catholic Faith and practices due to the influence of Jansenism, Gallicanism and French Revolution. Fr. Peter Marie Mermier sensed the irreplaceable role of the parish missions, the necessity of a religious Congregation of Missioners.
Fr. Peter Marie Mermier founded the Congregation for parish mission, foreign mission and education of the youth. The congregation has 11 Provinces and 1080 Perpetually professed members spreading out to more than 20 countries in the world.
St. Francis de Sales, Patron
St. Francis de Sales is the Apostle of Chablais (France), the Gentleman saint, a Doctor of the Church and the Patron of Writers or Journalists. Various religious congregations have been founded under the patronage of St. Francis de Sales. And he is the heavenly patron of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales.