A NEW MEMBER JOINS THE MAZENODIAN FAMILY COMMUNITY IN HEAVEN

DENYSE MOSTERT, Missionary Oblate Associate RIP

For over ten years, Denyse has been writing a daily reflection in response to the French version of “Eugene de Mazenod  Speaks”. She was an intuitive writer who loved St Eugene and communicated his message in an attractive way. It was our love for St Eugene who brought us together and made us friends (and coincidentally we shared the same birthday, even though the years were different). Each day, since 2010, when my meditation was published in French, she would respond with her own incisive reflection on the same material, bringing a greater depth of understanding to St Eugene’s text.  I was told many times by several people that they preferred her interpretation to mine – it made me so happy to hear this and to be able to tease her about it.

Adieu, Denyse, and thank you for all that you did to make Saint Eugene better known, understood and loved!

I ask all our English readers to pray in thanksgiving for Denyse, and for comfort to her children and grandchildren, whom she loved passionately. May she rest in peace.

 

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OBLATE ASSOCIATES AND MEMBERS OF THE MAZENODIAN FAMILY, COME AND JOIN US!

Eugene de Mazenod is the saint who has brought us together. We are associated to his spirituality, charism and mission. We now invite you to come to know him better.

Fathers David Muñoz, Bonga Thami and I have prepared a series of 20 minute videos (in English, Spanish, French and Italian) which we call “Eugene 101.” Each session comes with some reflection questions that can be used for individual prayer and for groups.

 

The lessons are available until June 2021. For more details and registration, please see: https://moodle.ost.edu/course/index.php?categoryid=28

 

The titles of each session are:

1/ A life shaped by the social and political history of France (1782 – 1861)

2/ A privileged childhood radically changed by the political upheaval of the French Revolution

3/ A migrant exiled from his own country and culture for eleven years

4/ The discovery by a directionless young man of the Crucified Christ as his Savior

5/ A vocation to be a cooperator of the Savior as a priest

6/ Eugene de Mazenod’s option for the most abandoned

7/ The poor, a precious portion of the Christian family, cannot be abandoned to their ignorance

8/ Eugene de Mazenod, icon of God’s love: a discernment towards apostolic community

9/ You are necessary for the work that the Lord inspires us to undertake (foundation of the Missionaries)

10/ Missions: close to God and close to the people

11/ Sustained by the unreserved gift we make of ourselves in our oblation

12/ In the joys and sorrows of our life, we feel close to Mary.

13/ The dark night of Eugene’s personal sufferings

14/ “A fire into many flames divided, yet never dimmed by sharing of its light” – Missions outside of France part 1

15/ A family affair – missions outside of France part 2

16/ Pastor of a diocese not inhabited by saints – Eugene and the Diocese of Marseilles – part 1

17/ Close to his people: the Bishop of Marseilles – part 2

18/ Tell them that I die happy

19/ His spirit continues to live always in the heart of his children

20/ The spirituality of St. Eugene lived in the Mazenodian family

COME AND JOIN US! 

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I COULD CONFIDE THIS NEW MISSION ONLY TO MEN OF GOOD WILL AND DEDICATION AND THUS I HAD TO BE SURE OF THEIR AGREEMENT

Before agreeing to send missionaries across the Atlantic to Canada, Eugene had to consult all the Oblates.

Well! I dared not respond positively to the bishop, but I promised him that I would consider his request and that upon his return I would explain thesteps that I was going to take to satisfy him.

My desire was to consult all the members of the Congregation and to reply to the Bishop of Montreal only after having their consent. It was a faraway mission. It would take dedication to undertake it.

I could confide it only to men of good will and dedication. I had to be sure of their agreement. This is what I have done.

He then describes their reaction to the consultation .

I first called some of my local superiors to meet with me. They immediately echoed this view. Some other members of the Congregation who wereinformed…  offered to be among the first to go.

All have assured me that there would be one voice for accepting such a beautiful proposal.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 15 and 16 July 1841, EO XX

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WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MISSION LIES BEFORE US

Noting in his diary that Bishop Bourget had asked for some Oblate missionaries to be sent to Canada, Eugene enthusiastically saw the possibilities opening up for the Congregation.

He asked me for at least four missionaries; he would pay for the trip and would give them a parish in his diocese to provide for the needs of thecommunity that could increase in the future, not only with subjects that I could still provide but with those who he hopes would join him in that country.

Our missionaries would be responsible to give missions in various parishes of his diocese and could also evangelize the indigenous people whenone of them would have learned their language.

What a beautiful mission lies before us. I saw with consolation that those of our people to whom I have spoken have welcomed the idea with enthusiasm.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 15 and 16 July 1841, EO XX

From that moment until today, beautiful missions have opened up for us in over 65 countries. All it took was to become aware that God was opening the door and continues to do so today in all aspects of our lives.

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THE LORD HAD LIKELY INSPIRED HER SO THAT THERE WOULD BE A PLACE IN THE COACH FOR THE GOOD FATHER DALY

Still reflecting on the providential hand of God in the matter of having sent English-speaking men to join the Oblates in France , Eugene recounted in his diary.

That is not all, now by the most singular encounter, Bro. Daly, who ordinarily has little contact with anyone, met an English Protestant who isabout to take a trip to England with his family. After a few days this Englishman decided to take Bro. Daly in his coach and to pay his travel toLiverpool. I’m still stunned by this act of Providence. I did not want to believe it and I did not really believe it until the day of departure.

So, letting myself be led by the confidence of dear Daly who had concluded this business in a single conversation, I hastened to ordain him (May 2, 1841) so that he could leave the next day in the care of God who had shown his power and goodness so clearly in favor of the holy abandonmentand trust of his young and faithful servant.

Note that for this extraordinary journey to happen as Fr. Daly desired, it was necessary that the mother-in-law of the Englishman suddenly had the fancy not to go. The Lord had likely inspired her so that there would be a place in the coach for the good Father Daly.

Eugene then explains why this move was so important. Firstly, it opened the door to evangelization of those who had left the Catholic Church. Secondly, it could provide vocations to the Oblates of future missionaries to English-speaking countries around the world.

This trip is undertaken to examine on the spot how we could form a settlement of missionaries from our Congregation who could work for the conversion of the English heretics, and if necessary and the number of associates sufficed, to even spread to the colonies or the new conquests in America or any other part of the world.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 15 and 16 July 1841, EO XX

“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

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A NEW SIGN OF GOD’S WILL TO CONTINUE HIS WORK

A second person, sent by God to open the way to Oblate evangelization across the English Channel was John Naughten, who had entered the novitiate in France the year before. It was a “chance encounter” engineered by God. 

Meanwhile a young man full of candor appeared one day at the Calvaire, I not know for what reason. His place was already reserved to leave for Rome the next day.

Fr. Aubert entered the sacristy by chance when the young man asked in Latin for what he was looking for. Fr. Aubertunderstood by his accent that he was English. He spoke to him in that language; the young man delighted to find someonewho understood him explained himself to the Father. From one thing to the other he made it known that he left Ireland to become a missionary. The opportunity was there to fulfill his wish because he was in a house of missionaries and he hadjust unknowingly spoken with the superior.

Nothing more was needed to decide the young man. He asked to be admitted, we cancelled his reservation, he entered thecommunity and Bro. Daly, who was sent to explain things better to him, saw in this a new sign of God’s will to continuehis work. It turns out that this young man is an angel, he has already done half of his novitiate to the edification of all who see him up close, and he gives us the greatest hopes. This young man’s name is Naughten, and he is from the region of the famous O’Connell.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 15 and 16 July 1841, EO XX

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AN EXCELLENT NATIVE IRISH FATHER WHO CAME TO US AS IF FALLING FROM THE SKY

God opened the door of Oblate mission to the British Isles by sending William Daly to join the Oblates as a student four years earlier. Eugene understood the missionary significance of this and was impelled to action in 1841.

It is known that we have in the Congregation an excellent native Irish Father who came to us as if falling from the sky. This subject has been very successful. He has consistently been a model of virtue and regularity among us. Among hisgood qualities, we especially admire his modesty and gentleness.
 
Who would have thought that this good and dear youth nourished in his soul the fire of a most ardent charity and unfailing zeal for the conversion of his fellow English heretics in England and elsewhere? Hardly ordained a deacon, he busied himself preparing the way for a facility that could provide the Congregation the means to contribute to the great work. Hesuggested he write to Ireland to call subjects suited for our ministry. He received responses that gave him the hope ofsucceeding in this matter.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 15 and 16 July 1841, EO XX

This recalls Paul and Barnabas: “When they arrived, they called the church together and related all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles.” (Acts of the Apostles 14:27)

A note on Eugene’s use of the word the word “heretic” – the dictionary definition is that of a person who does not accept all the articles of established Church teaching. We shall see this more clearly in future entries where Eugene was pained that the people of the British Isles had been forced by Henry VIII to change their allegiance all because of his marital situation. In the Roman Catholic view at that time, these people were living in error through no fault of their own. Eugene saw them as being “abandoned” and wanted to bring them back to the fullness of salvation.

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NOVEMBER 15: LET’S UNITE TO PRAY FOR THE DECEASED MEMBERS OF THE MAZENODIAN FAMILY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqfLkFnaW24&feature=youtu.be

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GOD BEGINS TO WRITE A NEW PAGE IN OUR HISTORY

In 1841 God began to write a new page in the history of the Mazenodian Family with the arrival of some heaven-sent visitors to Marseilles. Eugene wrote in his diary:

The Bishop of Montreal in Canada, passing through Marseilles a while ago on his way to Rome, talked to me about the needs of his diocese. He insisted that I give him at least four missionaries from our Congregation, whom he would charge with evangelizing his people and if need be they could extend their zeal to the indigenous people who live in these regions.

At the same time:

This project leads me to recall one like it that we continue by way of trial since Providence seems to have indicated it by bringing together certain circumstances that deserve our attention.

It is known that we have in the Congregation an excellent native Irish Father who came to us as if falling from the sky…

Moreover:

Meanwhile a young man full of candor appeared one day at the Calvaire  [ed. OMI Shrine in Marseilles], I not know for what reason… From one thing to the other he made it known that he left Ireland to become a missionary.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 15 and 16 July 1841, EO XX

In 1830 Eugene had written about his desire for the foreign missions:

The Lord will manifest his will to us when it pleases him

Letter to Henri Tempier, 26 July 1830, EO VII n 349

There is no doubt that God certainly did so unmistakably in 1841!

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THEY BURN WITH THE DESIRE TO BE WORTHY TO BE ADMITTED TO THE NOVITIATE WHEN THEY FINISH THEIR CLASSES.

Writing to Fr Mille about the death of an Oblate, Eugene noted the need to replace them with new candidates:

Heaven is filling up with our men. If it is consoling to see all those who have been taken from us die as men predestined, it is impossible not to be saddened at seeing our ranks thin out, without anyone coming forward to replace those who have gone to take possession of glory, since it is the reward promised those who persevere to the end.

To fill the ranks, Eugene had just opened the first Oblate juniorate. As this was the beginning of a long process of discernment and formation, Eugene reflected to the young Mille:

The little colony of Lumières is a source of hope, but it will have to live longer than I can count on to enjoy results of a good initiative that is so strong in its seedling state. You are still young enough to see the ear of corn forming, coming to maturity and you will gather it in jubilation; as for me it seems that I am destined only to sow in tears. If that be God’s will, I accept it.

Letter to Jean Baptiste Mille, 16 April 1841, EO IX n 728

In his personal diary, Eugene wrote about this venture that today we call a pre-novitiate which was started

to receive the students that we have decided to admit to provide subjects for our novitiate which is completely depopulated. The trial that we did this year is encouraging. All the young people in this house of studies are animated with a good spirit. They burn with the desire to be worthy to beadmitted to the novitiate when they finish their classes.

To provide for their instruction, we brought our Oblates [ed. scholastics] to this house, those who have finished their theology as well as those whoare still taking courses. While studying themselves, they will make others work and their good example will strengthen them in their vocation. Those of our Fathers who have visited the house were delighted. Let us pray God to spread more and more of his heavenly blessing upon it.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 12 May 1841, EO XVIII

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