Servant of God Bishop Pierre Fallaize, OMI

Bishop Pierre Fallaize (1887-1964) was a pure-blooded Norman. He was born in Gonneville-sur-Honfleur (Calvados, France). Orphaned of father and mother, he entered the minor seminary of Lisieux in 1899.

He did his military service and upon being discharged, he followed the steps of his countryman, Bishop Arsène TURQUETIL, the legendary missionary bishop of the Polar Regions. He applied to enter the Missionary Oblates and, without awaiting a reply, presented himself at Bestin (Belgium) to begin his novitiate on 8 December 1906. He made his first vows on 25 December 1907 and was ordained a priest in 1912. The following year, he was sent to the polar missions of Mackenzie, considered then as the most difficult.

He was ordained a bishop on 13 September 1931 at the age of 44.

Eight years later, he had to submit his resignation because of almost total blindness which he accepted with heroic patience. The Inuit or Eskimos called him “Inúk Ilaranaikor” (the man who never gets angry).

He went back to his homeland and exchanged his episcopal crosier for the white cane of the blind and the “sled” of a guide-dog. For many years, he was a faithful confessor for the Carmelites and the many pilgrims that go to Lisieux: the Carmel and the basilica of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, his fellow country woman, friend and patron…these would be his new mission fields.

In his old age, he let himself be seduced by missionary nostalgia and he decided to go back to the North Pole where he would give his soul back to God three years later, in Fort Smith, on 10 August 1964. (Joaquín MARTÍNEZ VEGA)

(Source:  www.omiworld.org)

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