Somewhat puny as we are, being weak and few in number, we nonetheless have an existence in the Church no less than that of the most celebrated congregations, the most holy societies. It is thus we are constituted.

As small as the Oblates were, the charism of the Holy Spirit that brought them into life was exactly the same as the charism of all the major religious groups like the Jesuits and Dominicans, for example.

Just now I can say to you quietly what I will say to you out loud when the brief is delivered: know your dignity,

Eugene then uses one of his favorite descriptions of the Congregation of the Missionary Oblates: for us the Congregation is our Mother

take care never to dishonor your Mother who has just been enthroned and recognized as a Queen in the household of the Spouse, whose grace will make her fertile enough to give birth to a great number of children, if we are faithful and do not draw upon her a shameful sterility by our unfaithfulness.

Finally, what this approbation demands of each one of us:

In the name of God, let us be saints.

Letter to Henri Tempier and all the Oblates, 18 February 1826, EO VII n 226


“God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say. Yes, to be sure, but God does what is still more wonderful: God makes saints out of sinners.”    Soren Kierkegaard

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “Know your dignity.” It takes courage to know our dignity, to stand tall in it. Dignity comes with that deep and absolute knowledge of God’s love. It comes in responding to the call of our Savior who says ‘come, and live in me’. It comes when we announce that we make no apologies for living and working as we do. It comes in recognizing God in ourselves and ourselves in God. It comes when we walk in the freedom of following God, of allowing ourselves to be led. Dignity has no part in shame or embarrassment. Dignity comes when we recognize that our worthiness comes only in realising our very unworthiness. Our dignity is not stiff or unbending, or haughty, not untouchable, but rather our dignity allows for openness, flexibility, invitational and touchable. Our dignity is not something that we bestow upon ourselves, but rather we allow God to dress us in it.

    I would never have thought that I would ever have dignity and yet God as given that to me. Of course I did not really believe that such as I could ever become a saint (even though I secretly wanted that so very much), and yet even as we speak that is happening, slowly in small ways, but it is becoming. Of all the ways that it could have happened, it was Eugene who spoke to my heart and invited me to share in his spirit, and it was as receiving the Oblates as a gift from God and being given to them as a gift, in walking with them as an Oblate Associate. It is still whispered but soon enough I will say it loudly.

    There is a deep joy in all of this, a beauty in it and I can but turn to God and give thanks.

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