The Missionary Oblates of Saint Charles thus constituted have four houses and a hostel at the present. They are serving in six large dioceses. They are entrusted with the hospitals of Aix, the prisons of Marseilles, the prisons of Aix, and the shrine of Notre-Dame du Laus. Bishops are calling them to assume the direction of their seminaries. They have, furthermore, the consolation of enjoying the affection and esteem of their Superiors and fellow citizens. 

Eugene is showing the Pope how the ministry of the Oblates took “them out of the box” of parish structures so as to reach out to the most abandoned – to those that the local church was not reaching. It was this ministry towards those at the frontiers of the Church that was receiving criticism and encountering difficulties – hence the need for papal approval and protection.

(Note on the name Oblates of St Charles, refer to

But they still lack something that they desire with great intensity, that which each of them begs with greatest insistence through their spokesman, Father de Mazenod, their superior: they still lack the approval of Your Holiness.

Petition for approbation to Pope Leo XII, 8 December 1825, EO XIII n.48


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


“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.”    Pope John XXIII

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I sometimes wonder at how God works in our lives. This morning once again I find myself reflecting the similarities of Eugene’s life and times to those right here in Ottawa (and most likely countless other places with countless other persons). I don’t come seeking them and yet often, certainly today, they are present. They are not always peaceful cozy reflections, as I focus on struggle, past pains and my own humanness and then how I can move through them without denial or pretense.

    I find myself often having to consciously reaffirm my trust in God, acknowledge not only my weakness and sin but also the goodness and love that God is entrusting to me – it is never clear-cut nor one-sided. I recognize in Eugene and those early Oblates who wanted approval and backing from the Church a similar wish and need of some of those who wish to become committed Oblate Associates, acknowledged as part of a greater family in a real and yes holy way. I am thinking of earlier blogs this past week where Eugene speaks no only of the salvation of those he is serving, but his own salvation as well. The phrase “to take our place and stand with” comes to mind.

    And the Church, damn I love the Church, and I don’t think my struggle is so much with the Church as it is with some of the people who represent the Church, within the hierarchical structure of the Church. I know that I seem to struggle with authority – not all of the time and not with all authority – but its there. I recognize them in myself – the weakness and the strength and so wonder if it not perhaps the same when it comes to some of the rulings and statements they make. I know I make judgements and hurt others when I try to protect that part of me that Rohr calls the false self, when I raise myself up (over and above) to feel better about myself – could some of these men be just as human as I. I know too that I am sometimes afraid that if my way is different from others that maybe I am wrong (vs just being different) and so to try to falsely protect myself I claim that I am right and the other is wrong.

    This morning I think, I feel perhaps that God may be asking me (once again) to trust in his love; to trust in the love that is a part of the Church, to trust in the Oblates and to trust not only in those around me, but in my very self. Reading what Eugene wrote this morning has been/is relevant today in my life. It all seems to tie in together somehow, spheres within spheres, all within each other, non-separable and unfathomable. Not where I would have asked to be on a Friday morning Lord, yet here I am and so I can only but trust in your wisdom.

  2. Jack Lau, OMI says:

    Its been a while since I have written a note.
    The “out of the box” is what we here from Francis. To go to the fringe, to welcome the child, sick, lonely, lost not only to the centre of the circle to have them be apart of the discernment of Spirit but also be a church of Welcome, welcome to the table where all are feed, nurtured by the Divine Love which knows no borders or boundaries.

    • Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

      Yes Jack – a big hello to you. I think one the most wonderful parts of Francis is that he, as you said, “goes out” rather than relying solely on people coming to him. Reminiscent of Eugene, of St. Paul, of Jesus. A man without boundaries, a Jesuit taking the name of a Franciscan, in whom I see the spirit of Eugene. This man who is the Vicar of St. Peter (as I understand he calls himself) shows us how we might also live and be. It is lived and not just spoken.

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