62 rue de la Favorite, Lyon, France [ Map ]
La Favorite is a substantial property purchased by Jean-Claude Colin in the late 1830s as a novitiate for the Society of Mary. It is now an educational complex of six schools.
In April 1850, Eymard moved to the Marist novitiate at Lyon known as La Favorite to become the master of novices and relieve the superior Fr Maitrepiere who was seriously ill. He remained at La Favorite until September 1851, when he was appointed superior of the Marist College at La Seyne-sur-Mer, near Toulon.
During Eymard’s time at La Favorite, the Archbishop of Lyon decreed (on 5 December 1850) the canonical approval of the Third Order of Mary as a secular offshoot of the Society of Mary. The decree was issued after Eymard had sought and gained the official approval of Pope Pius IX.
‘God has blessed the little mustard seed’, Eymard wrote to Marguerite Guillot.
But Eymard had not received the blessing of Jean-Claude Colin to seek papal approval. Colin was displeased at his authority being usurped and the relationship between Eymard and his superior-general was never the same after this episode.
The relative isolation of La Favorite appealed to the ascetic in Eymard and brought him closer to God. He also realised that he could not escape the earthly nature of what he called his ‘old self’. In 1850 he wrote to the lay Marist missionary Captain Auguste Marceau:
Let me tell you that I love La Favorite like a Nazareth. It is far from the world, I live near our Eucharistic Lord like a child near its father and I am happy. But to my happiness are sometimes joined the tempations of St Anthony. A life without struggle is not possible on this earth.
[Eymard to Captain Auguste Marceau, n.d., 1850, in Catherine Marie Caron SSS (transl.), The Life and Letters of St Peter Julian Eymard (Albuquerque NM: 1995), vol. 1, no. 179]