To accompany the papal letter of approbation, Eugene wrote a letter to the whole Oblate Congregation to spell out the meaning of this for us. Its importance is highlighted by the fact that he wrote it in Latin, signifying that it was not just an ordinary communication but a formal document. Today, as we prepare to celebrate our 200 years of existence, its importance continues. In it Eugene picks up the ideas that he had already written about informally regarding the approbation and its meaning in our daily lives.

To the Reverend Fathers and very dear Oblate Brothers of the Congregation of the Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin Mary, greetings in Christ Jesus.
Rejoice with me and congratulate yourselves, my beloved, for it has pleased the Lord to grant us great favours; Our Holy Father the Pope, Leo XII, gloriously reigning from the chair of St. Peter, has sanctioned with his apostolic approbation, on March 21 of this current year, our Institute, our Constitutions and our Rules.
See then our little flock, to whom the Father of the family has kindly wished to open wide the field of the holy Church, given a place in the hierarchic order, associated with the venerable Congregations which have spread throughout the Church so many great benefits and enlightened the entire world with so bright a light;

At this stage the entire Oblate Congregation consisted of 22 professed members – and they were raised to the same status in the Church as all the other illustrious groups of religious congregations! We can appreciate the joy of Eugene while, at the same time, appreciating his realization of the responsibility given to us to live by this overwhelming tradition.

see her, right from her birth, enriched with the same privileges of those illustrious Societies, in the footsteps of which, with all her strength and all her means, she will certainly strive to walk steadily forward.

Letter to all the Oblates, 25 March 1826, EO VII n 232

As we look back, 200 years later, we see how these words, called to “enlightened the entire world with so bright a light” have been fulfilled in the life and achievements of our missionary Congregation. Today we cannot listen to the current news about some of the world’s trouble-spots without thinking of the Oblate presence there: Ukraine, Pakistan, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Mexican-USA border, to name just a few. Indeed, we can proclaim with Eugene “Rejoice with me and congratulate yourselves, my beloved, for it has pleased the Lord to grant us great favours!”


“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”   Melody Beattie

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I find myself wondering with some of Eugene’s use of some words, but not wanting to dwell on that, especially when he speaks of the pope “gloriously reigning from the chair of St. Peter” – that was him and that was then. But am I so very different? I often find myself wanting to quote Pope Francis, and although I can’t say that I exalt him over others there is pride and joy in this Bishop of Rome and head of our beloved Church. I am not shy to thank God for him or to praise him. I find that I am more able to let go of my struggles with some people and their positions of authority, there no longer seems to be a ‘blanket’ rejection of them, discounting all that they say and do because I do not agree with them, or because they are not perfect. I seem to have made a bit of a habit of struggling with and against some because I saw them to be at the root, or at least part of my pain and feelings of rejection and/or abandonment. (So if there was a little bit not so perfect I rejected it all instead of accepting and embracing it all.) I laugh a little at myself even as I write this for I am revealing yet another part of myself that maybe I could have recognized sooner but that I am sure many around me saw quite easily. God is healing me and for that I give thanks.

    Last evening I attended a session on “joy” given by Eugene King. One of the people attending the session suggested that joy is a response that rises up from/with gratitude. It is most certainly a gift that radiates within and there seems to be an abundance of it, noticed in the smallest of actions and experiences. So I sit with “Rejoice with me and congratulate yourselves, my beloved, for it has pleased the Lord to grant us great favours!” I can hear in Eugene’s words the joy that so filled him and I am reminded of the Magnificat sung by Mary. It is good to simply sit and give thanks for the Lord has granted us so many great favours. And as we prepare to celebrate 200 years, I give thanks and begin to prepare to make my commitment. Joy

  2. Denyse Mostert says:

    Deux cents ans ! D’aucun s’émerveilleront devant ces deux siècles, d’autres diront de la Congrégation qu’elle est relativement récente..

    Au fond, qu’importe le temps ? Devant Dieu “un jour n’est-il pas comme mille ans” ? (P 2.3,8) Et lui seul sait toute l’oeuvre de la Congrégation depuis sa fondation.

    Ensemble pour la reconnaissance et la joie…

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