Holy Cross Seminary

Most Asked Questions About the Society of Saint Pius X

Question 1: Who was Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre?

Brief History

Nov. 29, 1905:

Birth of Marcel Lefebvre into a good Catholic family (five of the eight children would become priests or nuns).,

Sept. 21, 1929:

Marcel Lefebvre is ordained a priest.

1932 - 1946:

Having become a Holy Ghost Father, he becomes a missionary in Gabon, Africa.

Sept. 18, 1947:

He is consecrated a Bishop and appointed Apostolic Vicar of Dakar, Senegal.

1948 - 1959:

Bishop Lefebvre is Pius Pope XII's Apostolic Delegate for 18 African countries.

Sept. 14, 1955:

He becomes the first Archbishop of Dakar.


His Grace returns to France to be the Bishop of Tulle.


Archbishop Lefebvre is elected and acts as Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers


until resigning before the changes his Congregation would force him to implement, and going into "retirement."


The Archbishop founds the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X.


He acts as its first Superior General.


Until, in view of his imminent death, he consecrates successors, Archbishop Lefebvre does all he can to be faithful to the grace of his episcopacy, traveling the world to encourage Catholics to hold fast to the faith and traditions of their fathers, confirming their young and ordaining for them priests.

Mar. 25, 1991:

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre passes before his Eternal Judge.


A Testimony

     Concerning the Archbishop personally, a journalist asked recently what was my outstanding memory of the man. I gave maybe a surprising answer: his objectivity. He had, of course, a uniquely attractive personality because he was a saint—gentle, kind, simple, humble, humorous, and so on, without a trace of sentimentality, but that was not the point. Underneath all that lay a great intelligence and faith and firmness of character, but that was still not the point. Essentially he was a man empty of self and full of God. To meet him, to talk to him, was to see―through him―the truth, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church. He was like a window on the interest of God. Not he, but Christ, lived within him, and yet that was Marcel Lefebvre and nobody else. And what a marvelous man he was!1


1. Bishop Richard Williamson, The Angelus, May-June 1991, p.2.


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