Leflon tells the story

The Founder’s influence over these “modern-day Goliaths” and over the people in the port districts enabled him to intervene effectively in preventing bloodshed when the assassination of the Duke de Berry became known; since the royalism of the common classes was intense and their passions violent, it was from them that one could expect the worst excesses against former revolutionaries and liberal bourgeois. The Founder’s father wrote that their first impulse was “to take revenge upon these two groups for the murder of the Prince whom we all mourn.” Bishop Jeancard likewise related:

Fortunately, the old districts where these reprisals were on the point of being carried out, were being evangelized at that moment by the Missionaries of Provence; religion was the only force powerful enough to restrain arms poised to strike, and it was stronger than ever in these districts. Consequently, by intervening and appealing to the people in the name of religion, Father de Mazenod warded off the danger. Although he abhorred the crime which plunged France into mourning, he spoke only the peaceful and gentle language of the Gospel when he spoke from the pulpit of Saint Laurent’s church, and he used the same language in the Carmes church. After the evening service he went out into the street and talked with the different groups which had formed there. Everyone listened to him with a pious respect and he succeeded thereby in allaying the violent passions which had been seething within the masses and which were about to erupt upon the city in all their fury. Some days later, the men of the two parishes said it was only because of him that they had held back.

In the bourgeois parishes, where people were less prone to acts of violence, the Missionaries of France made similar appeals…

Public opinion gave most of the credit for maintaining tranquility in these critical circumstances to the appeals and influence of the missionaries.

Leflon 2 p. 111-112

“It was only from an inner calm that man was able to discover and shape calm surroundings.”     Stephen Gardiner

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I am struck by so many thoughts after reading this. The first being more amazement (although I am not sure why – I should be used to this by now), more amazement with Eugene and the early missionaries. I am used to thinking of Eugene as ‘father’ to the Oblates, and to all of us who are a part of the Oblate family, but this shows me a man who carries the image further, to all those around him, those he ministered to. It is more than just his ‘job’. There is somehow a grace and a wisdom in all of it and the word ‘shepherd’ continues to come to mind. It is more than just nice words though for it is lived experience, it is real.

    After reading another thought was that ‘this would never happen today’ but the more I thought about it the more I realised that we all play a part in this type of thing, we all are called from within. It could be with something really big like “9/11” or something even closer to home like personal abuse or the abuse of someone close to you. When 9/11 happened, I experienced like the many people horror at what was happening. That quickly turned to fear and anger. I remember thinking to myself that “we” should just bomb “them” all (not pretty but I remember entertaining that thinking) and then from somewhere deeper was deep sorrow and sadness at what had happened, and for all of us (as in people everywhere). I asked God to forgive me for thinking so senselessly of hurting anyone else, to forgive those who committed the attacks and to have mercy on all of us. I did not have the courage back then though to speak out loud too much about love and forgiveness and peace.

    I reflect on Eugene and how he lived out his “all for God”. Thus he was free to speak from his heart and live out the steadfast peace and calm that comes from within – a force much stronger than the noise and clamor of violence. What an incredible leader he was – is even today.

  2. Jack Lau, OMI says:

    Another awesome quote, “It was only from an inner calm that man was able to discover and shape calm surroundings.” Stephen Gardiner

    As I look at the world about and my own ease to react rather than to respond it is the inner calm that will bring about peace. So how do we do that. If we look at the peacemakers-they were women and men of contemplative prayer. They “sat” as Eugene entered into Oraison.
    So it is clear it seems that if we are going to bring forth peace/harmony we start within the cave of our hearts were Christ love emanates from.

  3. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    With no posting today I found myself instead reading the thoughts of another Oblate, Ron Rolheiser on what he wrote in 2004 on Compassion and Truth and the truth of that in our, in my life. It sparked within me moments of what I call tender clarity, moments out of timed that God gives that are wrapped in tenderness and truth, they are clearer than any words can ever give. They are simply a gift from God. I returned here, more out of habit and a way of being.

    I start my day in this place, with Eugene and the Oblates, with community -it has become a small window that I look through to greet the day and start out from. Here I learn about Eugene and the Oblates, then and now. Here I learn about myself. I share this place with many, it is not mine alone. I share myself. My ego gets in the way so often. I can only hope that I have not filled this space with moralizing or anything like that. I cannot speak for another and yet I dare to use “we” more often than “I”. Most likely because I do not want to be alone in this, alone like this. There is always a certain sense of being alone, but we are the same. Even as I write this I find myself moving from myself into and with the other. I see us in scripture, in Our Lady, in Jesus and in his disciples. I see us in St. Eugene and in his Oblates, in the Oblate Associates and other members of this great family, in our family and in our friends.

    I had not expected to go here this morning, but I am grateful for having been led.

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