St. Eugene de Mazenod
Eugene was born in Aix-en-Province in 1782, into an aristocratic family. This was a time of much turbulence in France with wars and the famous French revolution. Eugene’s family were exiled and he spent many formative years in Italy. On returning to France, he felt that God was calling him to the priesthood. After studying at the seminary of St. Sulpice he was ordained in 1811. When he went back to Aix-en-Province he heard the call of God to serve the poor. In response to this call he gathered around him a small group of priests to join him in “evangelising the poor and most abandoned.” Initially the group was known as the Missioners of Province. They later became the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, an international Congregation of priests and brothers in the Catholic Church. Today the Oblates work in over seventy countries, including here in Scotland where we serve two parishes in Edinburgh, St. Mary, Star of the Sea, Leith (1859)
and St. John Ogilvie, Wester Hailes, (1980).
The parish was founded in 1847 by Fr. Thomas Carlyle and began its worshipping life when, in 1850, Balmerino House was bought and used as church, school and presbytery.
Work began immediately on the building of a permanent church and St. Mary, Star of the Sea was opened in 1854.
The Oblates of Mary Immaculate arrived in 1859 to serve the parish.
In 1861 a new presbytery was built. As the parish grew and developed the parish became a focal point for the community of Leith.