In the midst of all the bureaucratic visits and business in Paris connected with Fortuné’s nomination as Bishop of Marseille, Eugene’s heart is focused on the community of Missionaries in Provence. He thinks longingly of the times in community where he would be resting after the weeks of exhausting work in the villages preaching missions.

Let our novices be happy to live in their peaceful refuge. I am envious of their lot and it is with sorrow that I resign myself to what is in store for me. Indeed I offer to God my situation as the direst penance.
My whole happiness after the work of our missions is to come and enjoy a little rest in the heart of the family wherein everything edifies me, everything charms me….

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 22 February 1823, EO VI n. 93

 For him community life and a warm family spirit were essentials for successful ministry. One enriched and nourished the other.

[Many earlier entries above refer to community and its importance for Eugene – use the heading “community” in the search engine at the top of the homepage to read some of them.]


“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.”    Mother Teresa

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    God has been bringing me to deeper and greater lived experiences of community, of family and being a part of the whole. More than just my own small immediate community, but being truly part of a ever widening and larger family. Having grown up without the sense of family, without the being loved and loving simply as you are, because you are, this continues to surprise and fill me with wonder. There is that little extra spark with it, it is all such a gift.

    This sense of family, of love and support, of sharing and being a part of, without having to “do” anything special or great, it is all pure gift. Knowing who I am in all of it – wow! The place of rest and recharging of batteries – I am discovering this over and over – it truly is the community, the family. This is my lived experience which seems only to grow, particularly as I am able to meet and spend time with both Oblates and Associates, with other members of this huge Mazenodian family around the world. I find my sense of being a part of something that is so big, truly wondrous is changing who I am. My understanding of it seems to change, to grow, as does my experience of being a part of it. To receive such life simply by responding to a call to share in the charism – words fail me.

    I think of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, in the beginning he was alone and was defined as simply his number. Throught the story he becomes part of, family, community, living and loving. He grows into so much more with love, offering himself to God so that Marius might live – love and family, community.

    Being a part of this Mazenodian Family – huge. Being a daughter, an adopted daughter of Eugene – even greater still. Being called to be a small wee part of it all – awesome. I find myself again singing, proclaiming the greatness of the Lord, my soul exalting in God my Savior.

  2. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I look at this in a bit of a different light this morning.

    Eugene said to Hippolyte Courtès: “My whole happiness after the work of our missions is to come and enjoy a little rest in the heart of the family wherein everything edifies me, everything charms me…”

    Eugene had been in Paris for the purpose of ensuring his uncle’s nomination as Bishop of Marseille – this to ensure that the small society of the Missionaries of Provence would be protected. Indirect perhaps, but still very much the work of the missions.

    I think of the many who were involved with the missions in a direct way, but more so of those whose participation was not direct; which was nevertheless vital to the success of missions and an integral part of them. I think in particular, of those who taught and walked with the novices and the scholastics – both 200 years ago and today. Walking with, mentoring, sharing, teaching, supporting, loving and praying with; the administrators, the cooks and all who were not necessarily ‘on the front lines’, but without whom there would be no frontlines.

    Eugene himself who loved to preach, who was a spectacular preacher but was called to be an administrator in various ways. Funny but this morning I think of Mary, our Mother – Mother of God and yet hidden in so many ways – and it is her that we look to as our model of Oblation.

    And my beloved Mazenodian Family – how they all enrich and nourish me, how we do it together for and with each other. It is with them that I am able to stop and just ‘be’; to rest and be renewed. My community – that stretches and melds with my parish community, and the community of that where I am a volunteer.

    I am grateful this morning as I head out to serve in little hidden ways; there is much joy in being this way – if I allow myself to be open to it.

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