Saint Julien is a hamlet situated to the north of Martigues (Bouches-du-Rhône) about forty kilometres from Aix and from Marseilles. The Joannis family owned some land there and a country house (hunting lodge). Upon her death, Mrs. Joannis deeded this property to her nephew Émile Dedons de Pierrefeu, Eugene’s cousin. Father Rey characterizes the house as being a country manor. (I, p. 60, 85)
Eugene went there to visit his grandmother upon his return to France in November 1802. He subsequently went there for a few weeks each year from 1803 to 1808. It was here on June 29, 1808 that he told his mother of his decision to enter the seminary of Saint Sulpice. (see Oblate Writings I, vol. 14, no. 27, p. 55-57) During his vacation time in the summer of 1810 toward the end of August, Eugene spent a few days at Saint-Julien with Mrs. Joannis and taught catechism to the children.
Mrs. Joannis died there on August 15, 1811. Bishop de Mazenod went there in the spring of 1858 when Émile’s eldest son died as a result of a long and painful illness. (REY II, p. 684)
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.