Born in Coldirodi (Italy), November 7, 1836
Taking of the habit at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, October 31, 1853
Oblation at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, November 1, 1854 (no. 378)
Ordination to the priesthood at Marseilles, June 24, 1860
Left the Congregation about 1866.
Jean-Baptiste Semeria was born at Coldirodi in the diocese of Ventimiglia on November 7, 1836, son of Raimondo and Maria Semeria. At 18 years of age and without having completed his last year of classical studies, he began his novitiate at Notre-Dame de l’Osier on October 31, 1853 and made his oblation there on November 1, 1854. In the General Council session of October 22, 1854, he was admitted to vows with these words: “This drawback [being only 18 years of age] he compensates for in abundant measure by his very good dispositions, an outstanding prayer life and a great attachment to his vocation.”
He pursued his studies at Montolivet from 1854 until his ordination on June 24, 1860. In his reports, Father Mouchette, moderator of scholastics, wrote over a page on this brother. He stated that his health was fragile, basically a child in everything, sometimes stubborn, but brimming with good will, with prayerfulness, with openness and frankness. In his notes on some scholastics, Bishop de Mazenod also wrote: “The thought of obtaining his own salvation drew him to us. He is an angel in gentleness, filled with good will, happy with his vocation.”
After his ordination, he received his obedience for Vico as mission preacher. From 1862 to 1866, Missions O.M.I. makes mention of him, the retreats and missions he preached with good results. In the Registry of General Council reports, under the date of July 3, 1870, we learn that he had obtained “by a kind of extortion, permission to go back to his family for reasons of illness.” When pressure was put on him to return, he refused. For about two years he remained without having any contact with his superiors. He asked to take up his position again in the Congregation as if he had never left it. The report ends by saying: “We are justified in keeping closed to him the door that long stood open to receive him and through which he refused to re-enter.” It was up to him to request from Rome a dispensation from his vows.
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Oblate General Archives in Rome. Oblation formula, November 1, 1854 and baptismal certificate, November 8, 1836.