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Birthday of Marcellin Champagnat

19/05/2015: General House

Le Rosey was one of the many hamlets which made up the town of Marlhes, whose total population was some 2700 inhabitants. It was a charming site, but the soil was only marginally fertile; conditions were difficult there and life was harsh.

The calendar stood at the year of the French Revolution: 1789. Fourteen years previously, Jean Baptiste Champagnat, 19, had married Marie Thérèse Chirat, 29, from the town of Malcognière. She came to live in Le Rosey, whose people wove cloth, made lace, and augmented their income by farming and grain milling.

On 20th May, the eve of the feast of the Ascension, Marie Thérèse gave birth to her ninth child; three had died in infancy, as would later be the case with her tenth and last. Two weeks before, on the 5th, the Estates General had met in Versailles. A new epoch was dawning: the Modern Age.

The next day, Ascension Thursday, the baby was brought to the baptismal font in Marlhes; his godmother was his cousin Margaret Chatelard, and his godfather was his uncle Marcellin Chirat, for whom he was named. His full name would be Marcellin Joseph Benedict.

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Br. Lluís Serra Llansana - Champagnat at his time

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