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Joseph Fabre

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Fabre, JOSEPH, second Superior General of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, b. November 14, 1524, at Cuges, Bouches-du-Rhône, France; d. at Royaumont near Paris, October 26, 1892. He first studied at the Lycée of Marseilles, then entered the Grand Seminaire of the same city, and made his novitiate in the Congregation of the Oblates, pronouncing his final vows February 17, 1845. After teaching philosophy for some time, he was ordained priest, May 29, 1847. He was Director of the Grand Seminaire of Marseilles when, in 1850, a general chapter elected him procurator of the whole Institute. The Bishop of Marseilles, who was also the superior and founder of the Oblates, made him his trusted confidant; and when that prelate died Father Fabre was unanimously chosen to succeed him (December 5, 1861) as Superior General of his congregation, in which capacity he from time to time addressed to the members of his congregation, encyclical letters which have remained models of spiritual direction. He instituted collective retreats for the superiors, and others for the simple religious, and insisted on the observance of charity and humility, which Bishop De Mazenod had made the cardinal virtues of his Institute.

He introduced his missionaries into Italy, Spain, and Holland; established new houses in France, Great Britain, and Canada, and, in 1883, canonically erected into a separate province the houses already existing in the United States. Their activities in the missions of Ceylon, South Africa, and the extreme North, as well as the far West, of America, were no less remarkable during his tenure of office.

At the time of his death, when he had been superior for thirty-one years, the roll of members had more than doubled in numbers, and the Oblates counted in their ranks ten bishops who were at the head of as many vicariates Apostolic. If Bishop De Mazenod had founded and consolidated the congregation, the last touches to the good work were given by his immediate successor. In addition to being their superior general, Father Fabre was the Director-General of the Association of the Holy Family, a religious institute composed of seven congregations of nuns founded at Bordeaux in the first half of the nineteenth century.

A. G. MORICE


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