21 MAY 1861 – COMMEMORATING THE DEATH OF OUR FOUNDER

The day before his death Eugene entrusted this message to his Oblate family:

Be sure to tell them that I die happy… that I die happy that God was so good as to choose me to found the Congregation of the Oblates in the Church.

Then as the last wish in his heart:

Practice among yourselves charity
charity
charity
and outside, zeal for the salvation of souls.

Joseph Fabre (Eugene’s successor as Superior General), Circular letter of 1861

In 2011, the Oblate Congregation and the Archdiocese of Marseille gathered at St Eugene’s tomb to commemorate the 150th anniversary of his death. His present successor as Superior General recalled:

For us Oblates, Saint Eugene was a man on fire with a great love for Jesus Christ, for the Church and for the poor. He shared these gifts with the people of Marseille for 37 years, as Vicar General and then as Bishop.

At the same time, he was the Superior General of the Missionary Oblates and he guided this growing Congregation from the bishop’s house across the street.

It is from this same city that he sent us to preach the Gospel throughout the world… We Oblates are proud to continue following his inspiration in nearly 70 countries, with more than 4,000 missionaries and numerous lay associates.

Father Louis Lougen OMI

In his homily during the Mass, St Eugene’s present successor as Bishop of Marseille said:

Bishop de Mazenod was animated by a passion to proclaim the Gospel of Christ. It is the way to the encounter of the poorest that Christ came to him and tied it to Him. He made an untiring apostle

In this he is a model for us.

May the passion of the Gospel fill us! May it lead us to the poorest today in the church …“

Archbishop Georges Pontier

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One Response to 21 MAY 1861 – COMMEMORATING THE DEATH OF OUR FOUNDER

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Happy Feast Day! As the dawn has unfolded across the sky in I have sat here in front of this window thinking of all that Eugene has given – in his life and after – he lives now not only as a distant memory of a man who was incredibly good and holy – but who lives on in each one of us. Having given himself with complete and utter abandon to God, his heart then opened to the world, while at the same time inviting some to join him, to live as he did and then taking in others who saw and felt drawn to join him and his family. Over the years this community has grown and flourished. Such a legacy, such a way of being as we have been given.

    I have watched the dawn and beginning of the day. It started with ribbons of colour and light that grew, the edges and lines softening so that even as I breathed each breath the sky changed constantly while remaining somehow the same. A ball of brilliant orange slowly rose over the hills and through the bands of clouds, well defined and growing in intensity. And as it rose upward, not losing any of it’s brilliance and life the shape and light started to become diffused, the intensity of the colour starting to meld in with and filling the sky. My eyes constantly being drawn towards the centre of it’s light. The brilliance and the light, the warmth and the life still there and becoming a base, a backdrop, the embrace of life, permeating everything in ways that we don’t even think of – so much is it a part of life that we treat it as we do each breath, a part of who we are. It has not changed from 40 minutes ago and yet it appears different. Much like Eugene whose fire began 200 years ago and whose life and love, whose very spirit lives on today, in so many.

    I am filled once again with joy and wonder and incredible gratitude for God has given so much. I live that out today in celebration of God, of Eugene and of all of us. Happy Feast Day.

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