The turning point of Eugene’s life came with his experience of God’s love for him as evidenced on the Cross. His Good Friday experience was the door that opened for him to welcome the Risen Christ at Easter. Because of the importance of Easter, he insisted that the Missionaries always spend this feast together, and that they organize their pastoral commitments accordingly. Writing to the oblates doing the parish mission at Puyloubier, he underlined this:

It would be better to have communion on Holy Thursday and plant the cross on Holy Friday, then leave on Holy Saturday so as to be with your brothers on the holy day of Easter. 

Letter to Pierre Mye, 16 March 1825, EO VI n. 174

Two years before, Eugene had written from Paris to share his sadness at not being in community for Easter:

My heart was sad, my dear Courtès, as I came back from the church where I had just offered the holy sacrifice..  far from you from whom I have never been separated on this memorable day. Yes, it is the first time since our coming together that I have not celebrated Easter with my brothers.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 27 March 1823, EO VI n. 98

Several years later, he continues the same theme of the importance of celebrating Easter as a community:

I must admit that I could never have thought that I would have to go looking for you on a mission being preached during the Holy Week. Had you consulted me. I would have dissuaded you from undertaking a mission at the beginning of this week. This is the first time that such a thing happens to us, and see to it that it is the last also. First of all, because it has been our practice always to celebrate Easter in our communities, and because we must return from everywhere else in order to be together during the days of recollection that precede the great solemnity which crowns them.

Letter to Bruno Guigues, 14 March 1837, EO IX n. 609


“Take with you the joy of Easter to the home, and make that home bright with more unselfish love, more hearty service; take it into your work, and do all in the name of the Lord Jesus; take it to your heart, and let that heart rise anew on Easter wings to a higher, a gladder, a fuller life; take it to the dear grave-side and say there the two words “Jesus lives!” and find in them the secret of calm expectation, the hope of eternal reunion.” John Ellerton

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    This is the second time I have come to this place today. I left the first time after thinking first about my own personal way of celebrating Eastertide, and of how I actually agreed with Eugene about the necessity of the community celebrating Easter together – as a community. I left after deciding maybe Frank had written something that applied only to the Oblates, that is priests and brothers living in community. But even after walking away it continued to niggle my mind off and on.

    Usually I will return to this site once or twice a day. I am unable to take in everything at once and I sometimes find that when I return to it I am led into a deeper level or area awareness. So I came back. I returned thinking some more on how I celebrate Easter here – always with my parish, my community. I am blessed with communities that touch, connect and overlap, within each other. Then I thought of some of the Oblates who were up north in the missions, alone, in spirit with the members of their Oblate family but also with their individual mission communities. Overlapping communties. I though of the many Oblates in parish settings, their communities being made up of the parishioners around them that they were serving – communities within communities. And we thank God for all of them, that they are a part of our communities. And that they choose to celebrate with us, specially at the holiest time of the year, at our feast of feasts.

    Certainly Eugene was stressing the importance of being together to celebrate Eastertide, Holy Week and the Triduum together. I am wondering if he wasn’t also stressing the importance of taking the time to celebrate, especially Easter. Missions during Lent were one thing, but the time to celebrate when it came, Easter – it was important to do just that – it was not the time to start out on a mission. There is a time for everything.

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