ACT OF APPOINTMENT AS SUPERIOR OF THE CEYLON MISSION.
Charles Joseph Eugene de Mazenod
by divine mercy and favour of the Apostolic See
Bishop of Marseilles,
Commander of the Holy Religious and Military Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus,
of the Congregation of Oblates of the Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin Mary,
to our beloved Brother in Christ Étienne Semeria
Priest of the same Congregation,
Greetings and blessings in the Lord
Monsignor Bettachini, coadjutor of the Vicar Apostolic in the island of Ceylon, having most earnestly asked us to assign some of our missionaries to him as travelling companions and associates in his work. We, to whom is entrusted the government of the whole Congregation, considering less our shortage of subjects than the will of God, the members of our Congregation being called to work in this part of the vineyard of the Father of Family, have decided to send evangelical laborers to work there. Under the jurisdiction of the Most Reverend Coadjutor, these laborers will therefore work diligently, for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls, to stimulate the piety of Catholics, to restore the faith among heretics, and above all to rescue unfortunate infidels from the darkness and shadow of death.
Granted the great distance that will separate us and the great difficulties that could result from it, we have chosen from among the members of our Congregation and appointed with extraordinary faculties as head of this great undertaking and guide of this excellent mission, the said Étienne Semeria, a man matured by prudence and many years as an Oblate, notable for his zeal and piety, and unshakeable in his attachment to Ourself and the Family.
The document continues with a listing of the administrative powers given to him in this new Oblate mission, where he was to be the Founder’s “alter-ego.” He concludes
Now go forward, beloved Son, to the work that is entrusted to you together with those whom we have chosen to be your companions in those distant parts of Asia, for the greater glory of God, which we must further there and everywhere.
May the Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin Mary, our loving Mother, keep you always under her protection. May the angels of God assist you. And as for Us, beloved son in Christ, we will not cease to implore for you an abundant outpouring of divine grace from heaven.
Given at Marseilles… October 21, 1847.
+ C. J. Eugene, Bishop of Marseilles, Superior General.
Father Semeria received his obedience and then embarked on a 37-day voyage, where he reached Ceylon in the company of Fathers Louis Marie Keating from Ireland, Joseph Alexandre Ciamin from Nice and Brother Gaspard De Stefanis from Genoa.
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