5 Points of Bresillac’s Spirituality 

  • Pursuit of God’s Will 

Melchior de Marion Bresillac, in every desire of his heart, he always asks himself, “Is this the will of the Lord?” When he was in the seminary, he felt the desire to be a missionary, seeking if his desires was the will of the Lord, he went on a Spiritual retreat and he consulted his Superiors and his parents, who he believed to be the voice of God. And, in different situations he lived, he always pursued God’s will. In his letter to P. Tesson, he wrote, “Believe me, I thought a lot, and I will think again, about the importance of the action I have to fulfill. I am not going to do it until I am sure not to go against the Holy will of God.”

  • Love for the Church

According to Bresillac, the will of God is demonstrated through the Church towards which he feels much love. “Oh Church, my mother! Holy Church, catholic, apostolic, Roman, the only true Church of Jesus Christ since the first days of my life, you had the dearest share of my thoughts… until the end, please be the only reason of my ambition on earth, I would like to be entirely submitted to you.”

Representing the Church, Bresillac wanted to show the face of a Church able to love, beyond appearances, weird customs and defects, so that it can be loved back. His behaviors towards Indians was open and emphatic. He did not want to influence them with west customs. He said, “Let us take the Indians for what they are. Let us love them despite their defects, their weird customs and their bad character. This is our duty, as we are their shepherd. They became our adopted sons; let us try to be their father. Do they have some defects, which person does not have any?”

  • Obedience

Melchior de Marion Bresillac followed this virtue in three (3) ways: obedience to God’s Will, to the Conscience and to the Church. He did not only practice it alone but also helped others to live it. He wrote to one of his seminarians, Pakianaden: “The strain of your heart, through which you purify its tendencies with all your strength, will take you relentlessly to your specific mission. Please be in peace in the obedience of your superiors. They are the audible voice of God.

Societas Missionum Ad Afros (SMA) was the fruit of Bishop Bresillac’s obedience to the Pope. The Pope accepted Bishop Bresillac request that he be put in a place where the missionaries had not yet gone, either because their small numbers or due to other difficulties but in one condition, that Bresillac should not go alone.  The Pope further invited Bresillac to found a new institution, he did not want this but, like an obedient son, he established the SMA.

  • Prayer

Prayer was Bresillac guide, support and strength in difficulties and in making an important decision. “Together in the prayer and contemplation, we find the source and essence for any evangelization activity, this being the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would encourage us to pray, to witness the Gospel and to serve who we are sent to.” His life would not have been feasible without the support of prayers, not only his prayers but also the prayers of others.

  • Trust in the Providence

Trust in the Providence guided the steps of Bresillac. He was able to revise and adapt his choices and decisions according to God’s plan, even though not always easy to accept, trusting the Providence, a faith that always supported him. For him, trust is the indispensable root for faith. In his sermon, he said “If we lived in faith, we would have more trust in God and more peace in our souls, because in everything, we would recognize God’s hand guiding the events at His will.

 

Bresillac’s Charism 

The Charism of Mgr de Brésillac was formed in the field, allowing himself to be questioned by situations that he lived and saw. Trying to read each situation “according to the heart of God”; loving the Church and the people to whom he was sent, with a great and unique desire, just as Saint Paul, to bring greatest number of them to Christ.
In a few “Fundamental Articles” he outlined the kind of Society he wanted. It has “as its principal aim the evangelization of the countries of Africa which have most need of missionaries. Independently of the care it will be given to the missions, the Society will constantly work to prepare ways for penetrating into the places in Africa where there are no missionaries yet”.
In the life and documents of Msgr. De Brésillac, he expresses his charism in this way: “Above all, a missionary is essentially an apostle to non-Christians; he must always be ready to go “elsewhere”. Happy the apostolic missionary who founds churches and, as soon as he sees them well established, hurries on elsewhere to found new ones”.
Working in this way, the missionary is the heir to the vocation, the mind, the virtues and, to a certain extent, even the methods of the Apostles and especially of St. Paul.
Following the example of the Apostles and profoundly conscious of the final aim of missionary activity, he retains as an essential duty of a missionary the formation of indigenous priests and the establishment of a local hierarchy: “To make priests, to make bishops, to plant real Churches – this, then, is the true mission of the Apostle”.
Then the inculturation. Today it seems a normal thing, obvious. But about 160 years ago, with and Eurocentric culture, this was a prophetic intuition”. He insists that the Christian faith elevates societies “but does not change the essential character of people, because there is no need of this. Catholic in the full sense of the word, is made for all places as well as for all people”.
With the growth of members’ number, it became necessary to have rules, which will apply this charism to the various situations. The first work (elaboration) on the Constitutions was done by Fr. Planque.
In 1990 the text of the new Constitutions was drawn and subsequently approved by the Holy See.      
Twenty years after the foundation of the SMA, Fr. Planque founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the NSA. In their constitutions, even with the obvious and normal differences, we find some of the fundamental points of the SMA charism: choice of Africa, mission with an apostolic style, reception of different cultural values, and the collaboration with the local Churches.
It could not have been otherwise, because Fr. Planque was the successor of the work of Mgr de Brésillac with whom he shared ideals and programs.