It is exactly 150 years ago the founding father of the Oblate Mission in Sri Lanka was called to eternal rest. Fr. Jean-Étienne Sémeria OMI was chosen by St. Eugene, our beloved founder to lead the four member missionary band to Sri Lanka in 1847. Enkindled by the fire for the conversion of souls, Fr. Sémeria ardently, but prudently designed and carved the Oblate mission field in Sri Lanka. By his life he set an example for his fellow Oblate missionaries not to lose their zeal for souls.
(Here, lies in Eternal Peace Mgr. Étienne Sémeria with his fellow Oblates at the Oblate tomb in Aix en Provence)
In 1857, hesucceeded Mgr. Bettachini as the Vicar Apostolic of Jaffna and during his eleven yearsof episcopacy spiritual fecundity was assured in the Vicariate. The then Vicariate of Jaffna included the present Dioceses of Jaffna, Mannar, Anuradhapura, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Chilaw and Kurunagala. He travelled miles and miles to meet his flock and founded good number of schools and colleges for the education of Catholics as well as non-Catholics. While he was in France to take part in the General Chapter of our Congregation, he was contracted with pleurisy and was called to eternal rest on the 23rd of January 1868. He was laid to rest at the Oblate tomb in Aix en Provence.
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