Bienvenu de Miollis was born at Aix-en-Provence on June 19, 1753. He was ordained to the priesthood at Carpentras on September 20, 1777 and dedicated himself to the ministry of teaching catechism in rural areas. He emigrated to Rome during the Revolution. In 1805, he was appointed Bishop of Digne where he remained until 1838. He then retired to Aix where he died on June 27, 1843. He is still remembered with veneration in the diocese of Digne.

Eugene de Mazenod met him, it seems, in Paris in June of 1811, then in Aix in 1817, during a confirmation service presided by the Bishop of Digne. In 1818, it was Bishop Miollis, at the time Bishop of Digne and Gap, who offered the Missionaries of Provence the direction of the shrine of Notre-Dame du Laus and asked them to preach parish missions in the two dioceses. Bishop Miollis ordained Father Noël Moreau to the priesthood in September of 1818 and Father Hippolyte Courtès in July of 1820.

Contacts between Bishop de Miollis and the Oblates were frequent. The Oblates preached often in the diocese of Digne. Nevertheless, the bishop did not easily allow his priests to enter the Congregation and Father de Mazenod complained about this while, at the same time, recognizing that this bishop was “without doubt a holy bishop.” (Letter to a priest of the diocese of Digne, July 22, 1827) Also, he was astounded when he learned in Rome in January of 1826 that Bishop de Miollis, after having signed a letter of approval of the Rule, had just added his signature to a letter from Bishop Arbaud, bishop of Gap, opposing approbation by Rome of the Rule, claiming that these statutes, too hastily examined, seemed to them unacceptable as being contrary to the rights of the bishops and to the civil laws of the Realm.

Bishop de Mazenod and Bishop de Miollis continued to correspond when Bishop de Miollis came to live in Aix from 1838 to 1843. He also came to the defence of the Oblates when they were first invited and then forced to leave Notre-Dame du Laus between 1838 and 1842.

Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.