Father Etienne Pernet and his vocation

Etienne Pernet was born on the 23 July 1824 at Vellexon, a small village in Franche-Comté (in the east of France), into a Christian family, country people of humble background. His father was an agricultural labourer and also worked at the blast furnaces attached to the ironworks in the region. His mother, Magdeleine Cordelet was the village midwife. Etienne was the second of seven children, of whom only four survived.

As a child, he wanted to become a priest. He was fourteen yeard old when his father died.
His personality was formed by his mother, a simple woman who was greatly loved in the village.
In spite of the difficult financial situation they were in, his mother didn’t place any obstacle in the way of his vocation and Etienne Pernet entered the seminary. He had a lively intelligence and a simple and anxious temperament.
After his first year of theology he left the seminay for a time of reflection. He was twenty. For four years he worked as "supervisor in a school".
In 1848, like so many other young country people, he found himself obliged to go to Paris to find work. There he experienced the difficulties of all those who arrive in a big city without experience, without friends, feeling homesick for their own home place. At a loss, he fell ill. Every day he went to the Church of Our Lady of Victories to ask for light about his vocation. He continued to question himself about what God wanted of him, and was thinking of going on mission to distant countries.
A series of events led to his meeting Mother M. Eugénie de Jésus, foundress of the Religious of the Assumption, who suggested that he go to work at the College of Father d’Alzon at Nîmes.
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