Eugene was in Switzerland to close down the Oblate community.
Today and every preceding day, whether here or at Fribourg, I have not ceased to hear repeated to me how much people regret to see our Fathers depart.
After seven years of preaching the Gospel to the most abandoned of the diocese, a general appreciation was expressed at what they had generously achieved.
From the Bishop to the last cleric, from the Prefects to the last country people, people say the kindest things, competing to give the greatest praise. All these testimonies of esteem and affection have been expressed with the feeling of most profound conviction. This unanimous manifestation from the whole district is a witness to the good conduct and services of our men and are for them a very much appreciated reward for their work and an immense consolation for me.
Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 2 July 1837, EO XVIII
Eugene, as founder and as father of the Oblate family, was proud and gladdened by the achievements of its members.
Today, whenever circumstances force the closing of an Oblate site of ministry, the same sentiments are invariably repeated. It is important to remember that the Mazenodian charism is greater than those who bring it, and its spirit remains in the hearts and minds and actions of the people.
In many parts of the world we find groups of lay associates continuing to gather and live the charism of St Eugene for many years after the Oblates have left the site of ministry. The charism of St Eugene belongs to the whole Church and is bigger than the Missionary Oblates.