The Boisgelins of Aix owned some land and a castle at Saint-Martin de Pallières in the Var, a subdivision of the Draguignan department. After her marriage to Armand Natal de Boisgelin in 1809, Eugénie, Eugene’s sister, spent her summer vacations there. Upon the death of Mrs. de Boisgelin in 1813, Armand Natal hoped to receive a sum of about 200,000 francs in hard cash. Instead, he inherited the castle of Saint-Martin which was valued at 192,000 francs.
From what we can gather from the correspondence exchanged between Eugene, his mother and his sister, Eugénie, her husband and their children used to spend the entire summer at Saint-Martin until the month of October. It would seem that Bishop de Mazenod went there for the first time in July of 1837 when he was returning from a trip to Switzerland. He left Notre-Dame du Laus on July 21 with Father Mille and went to Saint-Martin to urge his sister to accept the decision of her son Louis to enter the novitiate of the Jesuits. On August 1, returning from a trip to Ginasservis with his brother-in-law, the one-horse chaise upset and bishop de Mazenod’s head hit the ground. Fortunately, his hat and his guardian angel cushioned the fall. In the month of October he sent Father Casimir Aubert to recuperate at Saint-Martin where Eugénie and Mrs. de Mazenod were still in residence.
In the summer of 1841, Louis de Boisgelin, now a Jesuit, fell gravely ill and took a few weeks of rest and vacation there. In September, the entire family spent some ten days at Saint-Martin with Louis. Bishop de Mazenod and his mother (see Mazenod Diary, 14-16 September, 1841) In addition to that, the Founder went to spend a few days at the castle after the council of Aix in 1850, then, in September 1857 and 1859. This castle has remained in the possession of the descendants of the Boisgelin family.
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Oblate General Archives in Rome. Correspondence of Bishop de Mazenod.