As the small Society of Missionaries of Provence grew in numbers and commitments, one can see the preoccupation of Eugene to establish a solid foundation that would ensure stability. From the beginning he saw the importance of a carefully-written Rule of Life, and the members had been working on it for years to produce it in 1818. Now, three years later we find them constantly reworking the first version. In this light Eugene wrote to Hippolyte Courtès:
Father Tempier would wish to suppress the words: ‘Although the house of Aix en Provence be the headquarters of the Society’, not because he does not recognize this status as justified but because they would be surprised at Rome at seeing no approbation of the Bishop for this house designated as the cradle of the Society. This remark is correct. We must therefore suppress this phrase for the moment.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 21 February 1821, EO VI n. 62
What is important about this excerpt is the understanding that all that was being done by the Missionaries had to be in communion with the leadership of the Church. God had brought about the foundation of the Missionaries within the Church to be at the service of its universal mission. The 1818 Rule was still a private Rule, but it is clear that Eugene was preparing a final version for the approval of the Church leadership – at local diocesan level and then of Rome. This was to happen on 17 February 1826.
Our Rule of Life today continues to build on this foundation:
The call of Jesus Christ, heard within the Church through people’s need for salvation, draws us together as Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
CC&RR, Constitution 1
Our love for the Church inspires us to fulfil our mission in communion with the pastors whom the Lord has given to his people; we accept loyally, with an enlightened faith, the guidance and teachings of the successors of Peter and the Apostles.
CC&RR, Constitution 6
“You can be committed to Church but not committed to Christ, but you cannot be committed to Christ and not committed to church.” Joel Osteen