Born in La Mure d’Isère in southeastern France, Peter Julian’s faith journey drew him from being a priest in the Diocese of Grenoble in 1834, to joining the Marists in 1839, to founding the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament in 1856.
In addition to those changes, Peter Julian coped with poverty, his father’s initial opposition to Peter’s vocation, serious illness, a Jansenistic overemphasis on sin, and the difficulties of getting diocesan and later papal approval for his new religious community.
His years as a Marist, including service as a provincial leader, saw the deepening of his Eucharistic devotion, especially through his preaching of Forty Hours in many parishes. Inspired at first by the idea of reparation for indifference to the Eucharist, Peter Julian was eventually attracted to a more positive spirituality of Christ-centered love. Members of the men’s community which Peter founded alternated between an active apostolic life and contemplating Jesus in the Eucharist. He and Marguerite Guillot founded the women’s Congregation of the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament.
Peter Julian Eymard was beatified in 1925, and canonized in 1962, one day after Vatican II’s first session ended.