One of the reasons for the success of the ministry of the Missionaries was their quality of being close to people. They were missionaries because they cared for the welfare of others. Their main concern was for the salvation of the most abandoned, but this did not remain in the area of the “spiritual” only. The village of Saint Etienne, not far from Laus, was destroyed by a fire. The Missionaries immediately responded, as Eugene’s letter shows:

If only I had been with you on the day of your noble behaviour at Saint-Etienne. From here, I behold you in the midst of the flames giving aid everywhere and intelligently which must have saved a great number of persons. I am not surprised that people do not cease to speak of this splendid devotedness.
Four missionaries engaged in such an exercise of charity preach better still than in the pulpit, at least they are better understood.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 29 June 1819, O.W. VI n. 45


What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of people. That is what love looks like.        Saint Augustine

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    What does love look like? Although I read through this a couple of times and although I did not disagree in any way at any of it my mind was flooded with a myriad of images – of many of the the Oblates I have known through the years and of countless others in my life who gave a face to love.

    I remember not long after my conversion I went to Madonna House. I wanted to DO great things for God, I wanted to love like no one had loved before. I was so sure God was calling me to great things (which He was but they were’nt necessarily as I thought they would be). Anyways they put me to work in the office – in the office when I had always worked in an office (I mean think about it, office work is pretty ordinary). I wanted to be anywhere but the office. So I started to learn a little about serving and loving and how that might be where I was being called to BE.

    What does love look like? Well it might just look like the ordinariness of loving and serving others in everyday life – be it cooking and cleaning for those who do go out, doing the office work , being the teachers and the administrators, being the caretakers and the parents. I think of some of the many Oblates (and Associates) who have responded to a call, and how so many of them ‘wanted and hoped’ to go the missions (you know those ones up north and the ones down south and still others in foreign lands). And faithfully they have spent their lives doing all those mundane, ordinary things that they were asked to do. For me, their very ordinariness and everyday lives became the prayer and and they are/were what love looks like.

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