William Joseph Chaminade was born on April 8, 1761 in Perigueux, France and died on January 22, 1850. Pope John Paul II declared him Blessed on September 3, 2000. His feast day is celebrated on January 22.
Exiled from Bordeaux, France during the French Revolution, Fr. Chaminade fled to Zaragoza, Spain, where he spent many hours in prayer and meditation at the shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar. During these moments of quiet contemplation, he experienced a spiritual awakening and conceived a vision for reviving the faith of the Catholic Church in his homeland.
Blessed William Joseph Chaminade believed that Christian communities needed to bring the story of Jesus and the Gospel to life through their daily activities and outreach to others. Mary, the Mother of God, was the model for his renewed faith formation. In Mary, he saw Christian discipleship, simplicity and hospitality. Fr. Chaminade thought an “alliance with Mary” would transform the Church.