Eugene looked at the Brothers in Rome with admiration, and wished that more would join the Oblates in France.

Amongst others, they have three Germans who are a treasure… I do not know why we have none of these good Germans in France.

With sadness he makes an observation about the situation in France. The men considering an Oblate vocation preferred to become priests, because it seemed too easy to enter the ecclesiastical state.

As for the French, one knows why they are not to be found: it is because young people inclined to enter religious life, seeing that they can be admitted into the ecclesiastical state without money and without a talent, let themselves be tempted to make this deal ….

Letter to Henri Tempier, 28 January 1826, EO VI n. 221

Today the value of the vocation of the Oblate Brother  is stressed:

“Oblate Brothers share in the common priesthood of Christ. They are called to cooperate in their own way in reconciling all things in him (cf. Col 1: 20). Through their religious consecration, they offer a particular witness to a life inspired by the Gospel.”  CC&RR, Rule 7 c

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    This morning has opened up to me a whole new view of Eugene. He saw and understood so much about humanity, the strengths and the weaknesses. Upon first reading this today I found myself having to not to let a list of issues surrounding the idea of what and who is a priest within our Church distract and derail me.

    I found myself wondering a little at the word “easy” because it simply does not seem to be a part of the description of answering God’s call, any more than the word “safe” (which is the one I tried to use many years ago). Easy implies “achieving something without great effort; few difficulties or complications, unchallenging, effortless, painless, etc. Doesn’t sound so much like love and serving, be it interior life or exteriorly. I look at what began 200 years ago with a small group of men coming together to give themselves, their all to God as priests and missionaries. I look at how over the years others came to be a part of the family, brothers and then some women who became sisters (I am thinking of the “Oblatas”) and some lay people (Honorary Oblates, members of MAMI, Oblate Associates [under a variety of names]). Eugene how your family has grown. I can only imagine the smile this brings to your heart, which has always been so big as to include the world. For none has it appeared to be a life that is easy, but for so many has it been a life full of joy and gratitude, wisdom and truth, humility and determination, courage and daring, struggle and doubts. Gloriously full, all within the embrace of your spirit, your charism, your gift of yourself to all of us.

    Inspire me and give me the words as I prepare to speak of this very thing, the gift of yourself to all of us.

  2. Patrick M. McGee, OMI says:

    Eugene’s own heart was opened to the fraternal charism at the heart of his institute through the lived experience of shared life and shared faith with Brother Maur – albeit for a very short time. His desire to have brothers at the heart of the community was a graced desire. We are still in a (long) process of reception of this originating vision of Eugene’s understanding of religious life shared among priests and brothers. May we keep seeking deeper understanding of this grace!

  3. Jack Lau, OMI says:

    Powerful insight for us today.
    As a member of a novitiate team, we are about “being a Religious” and from there God’s call/vocation evolves and emerges through service and mission

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