Historical dictionary  vol.: 1  let.: M

Marseilles, Saint-Louis Country House


In the spring of 1839, Bishop de Mazenod bought the country house of the Mr. Bérard, deceased, situated in the Saint Louis quarter to the north of Marseilles. On April 21, he wrote: “It is a matter of nothing less than one hundred thousand francs. I checked out so many country houses without finding a single one which I found suitable that we either have to give up the idea of ever buying one or we have to decide finally to buy this one which suits us in every way: beautiful site, a fine building, well shaded, at a reasonable distance, as well as being on this side of the city, gives evidence of having a very abundant water supply since the canal must of necessity pass through the property.”


Marseilles, Saint-Louis Country House (Bernad).

It had been rented for the summer to the English consul. Bishop de Mazenod often went there from 1840 on “to take refuge from being constantly disturbed” in Marseilles in order to pray and to catch up on his correspondence. On May 10, 1840, he wrote his mother: “Oh, how pleasant it is in the country! I feel like I have had a hundredweight of lead lifted from my shoulders!”

He often received his mother there and several other visitors, in particular, Bishop Sibour, Bishop of Digne on August 3, 1840, General Hautpoul, on June 29, 1843, his sister in October 1846, Bishop Darcimoles, the Archbishop of Aix, in July of 1853, etc. He spent fifteen days in bed there in 1855 because of an attack of rheumatism. The scholastic brothers came to spend at least one day with him there every summer.

A diversion canal from the Durance passed through the property which was well irrigated. In 1849, he had a few footbridges constructed over the canal and a holding tank built in 1850.

In the month of March of 1861, he borrowed 200,000 francs in order to pay for the roof of the basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde and offered as security, his property of Saint-Louis. On April 27, 1861, he made one last visit and travelled all the carriage ways.

Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.

Sources and Bibliography
Oblate General Archives in Rome. Diary and correspondence of Bishop de Mazenod.

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