The first article of the Constitution of any group is always the one which defines the purpose and juridical nature of the group. Eugene’s first paragraph does exactly this.
The purpose of the Institute of the Missionaries of Provence
Until 1826 we were known as the Missionaries of Provence, before changing the name to Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
is first of all to form a group of priests who live together
Our vocation is always to community on the model of Jesus and the apostles.
and who strive to imitate the virtues and examples of our Savior Jesus Christ
Since Eugene’s conversion experience centered on Jesus Christ the Savior, we are brought together and our focus is on the Savior.
principally by dedicating themselves to preaching the Word of God to the poor.
We imitate that particular aspect of the mission of the Savior: to preach the Gospel to those who need it the most.
The full text, showing the three essential foundation pillars of our vocation thus reads:
The purpose of the Institute of the Missionaries of Provence is first of all to form a group of priests who live together and who strive to imitate the virtues and examples of our Savior Jesus Christ, principally by dedicating themselves to preaching the Word of God to the poor.
1818 Rule, Part One, Chapter One. The ends of the Institute,
§1 Preaching the Word of God to the people
In 1818 there were only priests, and within a few years the Congregation expanded to being brothers and priests. Today, our Rule of Life expresses the foundational pillars in this way:
The call of Jesus Christ, heard within the Church through people’s need for salvation, draws us together as Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Christ thus invites us to follow him and to share in his mission through word and work.
We are a clerical Congregation of pontifical right. We come together in apostolic communities of priests and Brothers, united to God by the vows of religion. Cooperating with the Saviour and imitating his example, we commit ourselves principally to evangelizing the poor.
CC&RR Constitution 1
With the growth of the Mazenodian family today, I dream of one day seeing our First Constitution include these elements:
The Mazenodian family is formed by men and women called by Jesus Christ the Savior, each in their own way as laity or religious or priests, to be linked in apostolic community in living the charism of Eugene de Mazenod as co-operators of the Savior to evangelize those who are the most abandoned.