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A life completely dedicated to Missions

He was born on December 2, 1813 in Castelnaudary, in the diocese of Carcassonne, or south of France. Elder of five children of a Christian family quite experienced by the French Revolution, it is his father who takes care of his school education until his entry to the minor seminary in 1832, in class of rhetoric. Ordained priest in December 1838, he was first vicar at the parish of Saint-Michel in his hometown. He would not stay there for three years; indeed, in order to fully follow his vocation, he decides to devote himself totally to the "ad gentes" mission. To do this, he must overcome the resistance of his bishop who finally agreed to it; but the opposition of his father is so strong that he leaves for the Seminary of the Foreign Missions of Paris (MEP) without even greeting his family. He remains there for 9 months and is appointed in India, in Pondicherry, where he lands on July 24, 1842.

Successively appointed in Salem, then superior of the seminary-college of Pondicherry and finally bishop of Prussia and provicaire then vicar apostolic of Coimbatore, Melchior de Brésillac wants to form Indian priests; he wants a native clergy, with its own hierarchy, capable of assuring the responsibility of the missions where the Europeans would only be auxiliaries. The question of caste and, more generally, the adaptation to the cultures of India were the cause of deviance between missionaries. Bishop de Brésillac would have liked more clarity in pastoral practices. His straightness of conscience, coupled with problems of people, led him to resign, which was accepted in Rome in March 1855.

His willingness to serve the missions is still strong. He decided to devote himself "to the most abandoned peoples of Africa" ​​and, returning to Rome in early 1856, he offered himself for Dahomey (Benin). On January 15, he wrote to M. Vian: "The Sacred Congregation would gladly see me open this new mission; but it does not want me to go alone; it commits me to do for this a Society of Missionaries. He will now put all his forces at the service of this foundation.

The Society of African Missions officially saw the light of day in Lyon on December 8, 1856, and it accepted the new apostolic vicariate of Sierra Leone in 1858. It was there that two priests and a brother went to leave in November of that year. Accompanied by two other missionaries, Bishop de Brésillac will join them on May 14, 1859, when a serious epidemic of yellow fever rages in Freetown that will prevail on June 25, less than two months after his arrival.

Since January 1928, his remains rest at the entrance of the chapel of the House of African Missions in Lyon.