By the middle of 1834 there were around 26 Oblates and 10 scholasticates in 5 communities: Aix en Provence, Marseilles, Laus, L’Osier in France and Billens in Switzerland.
At this time, the newly-appointed Bishop of Ajaccio, Corsica, Casanelli d’Istria, visited friends in Aix en Provence and met Eugene. In explaining the abandonment of the Church in Corsica: “poor parishes, numerous clergy but in general without formation, ignorant faithful, strife between families and clans,” he asked for help from the Oblates. Here were people who were indeed abandoned and who needed a relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior.
Eugene described the situation to Fr. Guibert, who had encouraged him for years to start a new mission outside of mainland of France
A vast horizon opens up before us; we are perhaps called to the work of regenerating the clergy and the entire people of Corsica.
The Bishop is calling us to direct the seminary, and he is ready to confide to us the missions in his diocese; we must take it or leave it. The latter choice would be unworthy, little though we may be able to do; it would be disheartening if we should find ourselves unable to respond to the pressing invitation which offers us everything we are hoping for. The truth is we are able to accept the offer we have longed for, and which we won’t ever have again if we turn it down now.
But fulfilling this task is going to cost us very heavy sacrifices.
Letter to Hippolyte Guibert, 18 October 1834, EO VIII n 493
That same spirit motivates us today:
To seek out new ways for the Word of God to reach their hearts often calls for daring; to present Gospel demands in all clarity should never intimidate us. Awareness of our own shortcomings humbles us, yet God’s power makes us confident as we strive to bring all people – especially the poor – to full consciousness of their dignity as human beings and as sons and daughters of God.
OMI Constitutions and Rules, C 8