Writing to the priests of his diocese, in 1840, about the civil war in Spain, Bishop de Mazenod made them aware of the suffering of their fellow-priests in exile from persecution:
Since a number of years the disorders happening in Spain are bringing to our city a large number of priests from this nation. Forced to flee an anti-Catholic persecution which is linked to their fidelity to the true principles of the Church, they come among us to seek asylum and the help to which their sufferings entitle them.
In order to help them it was necessary to appeal to the people of Marseilles.
Neither you nor I have up to now neglected to show them the solicitude which efficaciously satisfies the duties of hospitality required by charity. However, day by day they are becoming too numerous in our city for our resources to cope adequately for their needs. The time has now come to appeal to the charity of the faithful, in the name of the faith that is being persecuted in the person of these venerable exiles.
(Quoted in Selected Oblate Studies and Texts, p. 312)