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The congregation was founded by Fr. Emmanuel d'Alzon (1810-1880), Vicar General of the Diocese of Nîmes, on Christmas evening 1845 in Nîmes. This priest, born in Le Vigan on August 30, 1810,
received his initial formation in the major seminary of Montpellier (1832-1833) which he completed with high-ranking Churchmen as his tutors in Rome. A student of Félicité de Lamennais, he
broke with his former mentor but remained marked by several of his intuitions. A generous and productive apostle, he launched numerous pastoral initiatives in the diocese of Nîmes under
successive bishops : Claude Petit Benoit de Chaffoy (1822-1835), Jean-François-Marie Cart (1837–1855), Claude-Henri Plantier(1855–1875), and François-Nicolas Besson (1875–1878).
D'Alzon founded two congregations, one for men (the Assumptionists) and one for women (the Oblates of the Assumption). The congregation of the Augustinians of the Assumption received its initial approval ('decree of praise') in 1857 and its definitive approval in 1864 (although its constitutions were not finally approved until 1923), and d'Alzon resigned from his post as Vicar General in 1878 after 43 years of service. With his first disciples he undertook bold apostolic goals: the foreign missions (Australia, eastern Europe), education, the press, and pilgrimages. He died on November 21, 1880 in Nîmes and was declared Venerable by Pope John Paul II in December 1991.