The nomination of Fortuné de Mazenod as Bishop of Marseille, in January 1823, meant that he had to go to Paris immediately to fulfill the necessary ecclesiastical and civil processes required by this appointment. Eugene accompanied him on this journey, which was to keep them in Paris for six months.

From this moment, Eugene’s life was to change radically. In 1817, when Fortuné’s nomination had first become a possibility, he had insisted to Eugene: “Remember that after God you are my guide and right arm…” (Letter of Fortuné de Mazenod to Eugene de Mazenod, 9 October 1817, P.R., FB I-2)

In the face of all this Eugene had had no alternative but to accept the will of his uncle:

Yes, yes, my dearest uncle, I take all the responsibility on myself…

Letter to Father Fortuné de Mazenod, in Palermo, 17 November 1817, O.W. XV n. 143

Leflon sums up the situation:

On February 9, Bishop-elect Fortune and Father de Mazenod set out for the capital. A new era had begun for both of them. More closely associated than ever before, the two were now to work in concert at the same task, in a diocese whose numerical, economic, political, social and religious development was in full swing; and, true to the Founder’s foresight, his uncle’s installation upon the See of Lazarus would permanently assure the Society of the Missionaries of Provence, still small in number and still poorly consolidated, not only solid bases, but bases for expansion.

Leflon Volume 2, Chapter Five

 Now that the appointment had become fact, Eugene was forced to leave Aix permanently and transfer himself to his uncle’s side in Marseille, and to add the responsibility of being Vicar General to that of being Superior of the Missionaries. This shared responsibility between the Missionary Oblates and the Diocese of Marseille would be the pattern of his life of love for the Church for the next 38 years. This spirit continues today:

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.

We coordinate our missionary activity with the overall pastoral plan of the local Churches where we work, and we collaborate in a spirit of brotherhood with others who work for the Gospel.

CC&RR Constitution 6


“The will of God will never take you to where the grace of God will not protect you. To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else.”   Bernadette Devlin

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    This morning’s writings leaves me with mixed thoughts and emotions. The title alone is enough to weaken Atlas at the knees. Eugene, who continued to say yes to God, no matter what. A glimpse again of a life filled with many little deaths. I wonder if he had moments of panic, of doubt, of wondering and asking God to keep him on the right path. Did he ever question? (I’m sort of hoping he did.) What did he have to let go of?

    This morning I am reminded of God’s call to me. The base, solid and strong, perhaps deepening, and yet changing and growing, expanding? This morning I looked up at the sky and the moon appeared as a small sliver of light sitting on the edge of a darkened globe. It hung there in the dark skies with a bright star to it’s left and they both seemed to hover above the outline of bare trees and the earth below. I had never seen it appear exactly like this before. Absolutely incredible and breath-taking and my being felt compelled me to thank God for allowing me to be able to see it this way. The moon which has always been there against the backdrop of the darkened night sky, yet I was seeing it differently. Nothing and everything the same and yet changed.

    Like the writings this morning and seeing how God was calling Eugene to reach further, to give more. His basic call had not changed but it was expanding. Eugene’s all was deepening somehow and I wonder if he questioned or doubted the new direction. I am sure that he must have written he dear friend Henri and spoken of it and most likely asked for prayers.

    I find great comfort and solace in the writings this morning while at the same time feeling the tug to look and move in a new direction. To let go a little bit and follow where my personal ‘yes’ and all is being called. Discernment, listening, opening and responding. Unlike Eugene it is very unlikely that I shall ever be anyone’s right arm, but perhaps my small yeses will contribute something to somebody, or perhaps it will be but a small whisper of praise to our God.

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