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Born 29 November 1905 into a Catholic family of eight children, five of whom would become priests or nuns.
Ordained priest at Lille, France, by Msgr Achille Liénart, Bishop of Lille, on 21 September 1929, he joined the Holy Ghost fathers in 1932, becoming a missionary in Gabon, Africa.
Consecrated Bishop on 18 September 1947 at Tourcoing, France, by Msgr Achille Cardinal Liénart, Bishop of Lille, assisted by Monsignors Alfred Ancel and Jean-Baptiste Fauret.
Msgr Lefebvre was Titular Bishop of Antedone (1947-1948), Titular Archbishop of Arcadiopolis in Europe (1948-1955), Frist Archbishop of Dakar, Senegal (1955-1962) as Pope Pius XII's Apostolic Delegate to 18 African Countries.
Returning to france he was nominated Bishop of Tulle, France (1962) and Titular Archbishop of Synnada in Phrygia, 1962-1970. He was also the Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers (1962 - 1968), when he resigned rather than implement the changes that his Congregation would force onto him following the Second Vatican Council.
The following year, 1969, he founded the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X and was the first Superior General between 1970 and 1982.
To continue the work of the Society after his death, he consecrated four bishops (Msgr Bernard Fellay, Msgr Richard Williamson, Msgr Tissier de Mallerais and Msgr Alfonso de Galaretta) in 1988 to act as his successors.
The Archbishop and passed to his eternal reward on 25 March 1991 and is buried at the Seminary of Saint Pius X in Ecône.