1/6 - The Community of Saint Martin as seen by "Monsieur l’Abbé"
“The community of Saint Martin is without a doubt the fruit of Divine Will, whether it is in its origin, its existence, or its ambitions.
Under the light of its devotion to the Heart of Christ, with the assistance of its Mother, Immaculate Mary, and under the sign of Saint Martin’s charity, the community can only gather the misery of each of its members and offer it to the merciful Love of Jesus Christ, unique and supreme priest.
At the human level, it is a misery that the Church has no need of. In faith, it will be a Wisdom of the Son to the glory of the Father for the favour of the souls in the Church.
Mgr Jean-François Guérin, the 24th of June 1993
2/6 - Rev. Father Jean-François Guérin
Jean-François Guérin was born in 1929 in Loches, Touraine. When ordained the 29th of June 1955 by Bishop Gaillard for the diocese of Tours, he becomes curate of the Tours cathedral and chaplain of the secondary school. After getting a canonical law degree at the Institut Catholique de Paris, he was made Director-General of l’OEuvre d’Orient (serving Christians in Orient).
He was also made Oblate of the Benedictine abbey of Fontgombault and has thus been deeply influenced by the Benedictine spiritual life. In the 60s and 70s, while doing his ministry in Paris, many students assemble around him.
3/6 - The Origin of the Community
In 1976, persuaded by students who felt a vocation to the priesthood, “Monsieur l’Abbé” decided to leave France to start a new community under the paternal vigilance of Cardinal Giuseppe Siri, archbishop of Genoa, Italy. With the first seminarians, he settles in Voltri, in the diocese of Genoa.
Cardinal Siri will, until his death in 1989, support and keep alive his friendship with our founder and will express his profound and highest esteem for him by naming him Honorary Canon of the Immaculate Conception Basilica and the Saint-Laurent Cathedral of Genoa. Our founder becomes then Monsignor Guérin.
4/6 - The Return to France
While several French bishops were beginning to show their trust towards the Community by calling it to its first ministries, Monsignor Guérin felt the importance to return to France.
In 1993, the community moves the Head Office and Seminary to Candé-Sur-Beuvron, in the diocese of Blois, under the protection of Bishop Jean Cuminal and Bishop Maurice de Germiny in 1997.
5/6 - Passing the Baton
In 2004, for reasons of health, Reverend Jean-François Guérin stepped down from his role as the Moderator-General of the community. The general Assembly of priests and deacons of the Community elected as a successor Reverend Jean-Marie Le Gall, one of the first priests of the Community who was ordained by Cardinal Giuseppe Siri, for a six months mandate.
Monsignor Guérin passed away to rest in the peace of the Lord the 21st of May 2005. He is interred in the village where he spent his childhood, Artannes, in the diocese of Tours.
In 2010, a new Moderator-General is elected for six years, Reverend Paul Préaux, ordained in 1989.
6/6 - Arrival in Évron
In 2014, the premises of Candé-sur-Beuvron became small for the seminar, so a move was necessary. During the summer of the same year, the seminary set down its suitcases at Évron (Mayenne) in the diocese of Laval.
For six years now, the seminary has been growing in the Benedictine Abbey of Évron (17th century) where seminarians continue their human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation, in the wake of the impulse given by Abbé Guérin, and maintained by his successors.
It is also in this house that the mother house of the Community is located. As a place of decision, it welcomes priests during moments of community gathering, permanent formation, or rest.