A RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY ON THE MOVE

Rey describes the 8-day public carriage voyage of Eugene from Genoa to Rome (500 kilometers)

The journey of Fr. de Mazenod was made in the best conditions of piety and good company. He travelled in a carriage with a Jesuit, Fr Piazzi, who regarded a crime to delay to respond to the call of his General by one day; a monk of the Cistercian order and a Sardinian priest, four religious Discalced Carmelites traveling together. It was a community on the move. From 3 or 4 in the morning, the religious prayed, reciting prayers of personal devotion particular to each one: the Jesuit insisted on the recitation the Litany of the Blessed Virgin, a Pater, Ave and Gloria in honor of St. John of Nepomuk, another in honor St. Venant and a third one in honor of the Good Thief, the Angelus Dei and the De Profundis. The Oblate of St. Charles asked for the recitation of prayers prescribed by his Rule as they passed through every village, to honor the Blessed Sacrament and patron saints of these places.

This was the Oblate tradition whenever they passed through a village in Provence. Note that for a few months we had the title of Missionaries of St. Charles – until this was changed in Rome to Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

At daybreak, they recited the Itinerarium for Clerics and later the canonical hours of the Breviary. Arrived at the rest stop for lunch, Fr. de Mazenod celebrated Mass attended by his companions, they took their first meal of the day and then resumed their journey. In the afternoon they recited Vespers and Compline and later the rosary. Meanwhile, Fr. de Mazenod read some passages of the Imitation of Christ and the conversation was always edifying.

In the evening, arriving at the inn, the travelers recite Matins and Lauds while dinner was being prepared. It was in consideration for the Jesuit who had difficulty reading in the carriage.

The group ate alone. They slept on a bed without undressing. At 3:00 a.m. they left again.

Thus the journey was accomplished in eight days.

Rey Volume 1 p. 356

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” Martin Luther

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One Response to A RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY ON THE MOVE

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I have a lot of “whys” this morning as I reflect on this. I had to first google the term “Itinerarium for Clerics”, and then look at their entire day which on the surface appeared to be everyone taking turns in reciting the prayers of their individual rules, a lot of prepared prayers, formal prayers. I wonder if this was treated like some kind of private retreat and so this was their day. I wonder if they took time to just “chat” with each other, enjoy the scenery they passed through. Did they talk at all with the people in the places where they stopped. They seemed to keep themselves pretty well separate from people and the ordinary of daily life. I wonder if this wasn’t hard on Eugene – for he seemed to love people and to be a part of their lives. It was all pretty much regulated from the type of Office they would recite to how they ate and who they associated with. When I read the line about how they slept without undressing I had the image of each of them lying perfectly flat and still so as not to get a wrinkle in their clothing and then them popping up, crossing themselves and setting out again in a carriage to pray. Did they say good morning to each other, ask how did the other sleep. I wonder how Eugene was with all of this, this man whose heart was so big as to be able to hold many within it. He was truly was ‘connected’ with those around him.

    For sure in his time travel was long, uncomfortable, tedious, but this part of his journey seems to have been somehow ‘closed’, separate from those he most loved. I find that I discover and come to know myself in others around me. I recognize my struggle, my doubts and my pain in them and discover my joy and love in theirs. I am most likely missing a big part of the picture here. It is just different from my experience I guess.

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