How to make this ideal a reality in the lives of the people the Missionaries were serving? Their methodology had three steps:

to make men reasonable
then Christians
and finally to help them become saints.

1818 Rule, Part One, Chapter One, §3. Nota Bene.
Missions, 78 (1951) p. 16

Firstly, it was necessary to come into contact with the human reality of each one.

The Word became human and made his home among us” (John 1:14).

The people described in the Nota Bene were “wallowing in ignorance” about God and their faith. Through their preaching and teaching the Missionaries aimed at helping them to reflect and make decisions about their lives in a rational way. Over the course of 200 years Eugene and the Oblates have interpreted this call in a wider sense as referring to all the aspects connected with the human welfare of the person. The history of the actions of the Mazenodian Family continue to bear witness to this in five continents.

Secondly, to help people to become more deeply Christian by “teaching them who Jesus Christ is” and inviting them to enter into a life-giving relationship with God.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Finally, the call to help people to become heroic in their response to God.

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:13-14).

To become saints – to be so fully imbued with the values of the Kingdom of God so as to share its fullness in the Resurrection. Saint Eugene, Blessed Joseph Gerard, Blessed Joseph Cebula, and the Blessed Martyrs of Spain have been officially recognized as being saints.

Eugene was convinced that everyone who lived the Rule fully was assured of a share in the fullness of the Kingdom. These were three steps necessary to achieve this: human, Christian and then saints.

Today these three steps continue to be present in our approach to evangelization:

We will always be close to the people with whom we work, taking into account their values and aspirations…
…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.

CC&RR, Constitution 8


“I see Christ as the incarnation of the piper who is calling us. He dances that shape and pattern which is at the heart of our reality.”   Sydney Carter

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    This will probably be one of my favorite readings to contemplate on. Helping people, all people both next door and far away to first of all step into their dignity as human beings – that is huge. St. Eugene really did this in so many ways – all of them the every day ways of living and being. I have to ask myself if I can do this – how I can do this? In my life I think it shall be something very little and ordinary – in the way I connect with and work with people? You know I mean well, and as much as I “am filled with the fire today” I seem to need to find a way so that it’s not just a smoldering wick tomorrow.

    Then to become truly and deeply Christian as Frank puts it. I look at how this has come about in my life – by others sharing deeply but openly who Christ is in their lives and inviting me to look at the possibilities of my life. I think of the Fr. Roys and the Fr. Franks in my life, the Catherin Doughertys and the Kay Cronins, the Edna Montagues and the Marie O’Loanes. They each of them, spoke out of their love of God and of God’s immense love for them, they lived that out in their everyday lives and and let themselves be opened to others. The freedom to love – a gift from God but one we almost need to uncover layer by layer.

    And then to help them, ourselves, to become saints. From the time I was a little girl I wanted to be a saint. I wanted to love God so much and give myself to him so totally that one day I would somehow be a saint – loved by God and sharing that love somehow. “To become saints – to be so fully imbued with the values of the Kingdom of God so as to share its fullness in the Resurrection.” Thats what I wanted and still do want, and to share that with everyone around me, specially those who in their poverty find it hard to realise that it could be and is for them.

    Am I doing any of that, or some of that? I like to think so – not perfectly but I keep trying – and some days I guess it’s better than others. I keep thinking that if I do it over and over again it will become a part of me and I will do it without thinking. So again, I look to Eugene for the inspiration and the teaching. And I try to live it out. Perhaps I can set an example, at least I hope I can. Eugene shared himself with the whole world – he experienced and lived out his immense love of God, and God’s love of him – he set the example. May God give me the strength to follow it.

  2. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I find myself “thrilling” to this. It is more subdued than a year ago and it seems to be deeper, more basic or foundational, but nevertheless thrilling – it brings a joy to me, a light. The phrase that keeps going through my mind – a kind of ‘road map’ for living.

    This is so Oblate, so Mazenodian, a part of the blueprint of how we are called to live. It gives the flavor, the taste of the Word that we are ingesting. It brings to life the Word of God, our sacred scriptures.

    This morning I find myself not so much asking the questions from above, although there is always a time to do that, but to reflect in awe at the goodness of our God. For through no great intentions or inspirations of my own, I find myself being guided, led into being and then doing this with those around me. Somehow (again and again) letting go and being and then the doing seems to happen as a result of that. It is almost all ‘in spite of” myself.

    In looking at the CC&RR I see the notation next to Constitution 8 which reads “with daring, humility and trust”. I almost want to add “in wonder and awe”. “We will let our lives be enriched by the poor and the marginalized as we work with them, for they can make us hear in new ways the Gospel we proclaim. CC&RR 8a” I dare to say that is exactly what is happening, even if it be only with the small groups that I am with – I am thinking at this moment in time of the Oblate Associates that I meet with – not ones I would normally call the poor and yet in talking with, sharing with I receive so much from each of them. It is truly a “growing thing”. I again am reminded of those tiny lines of fire and hearts growing and being shared around and outward. I am grateful.

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