With his Roman visit over and the Oblate Congregation formally approved, Eugene now settled back into his regular occupations in Marseille – as Vicar General of the diocese and as Superior General of the Oblates. Unfortunately for us, we do not have too many letters from this period. His confidant was Henri Tempier, who also lived in Marseille, so there was no written correspondence between them.

At the end of the July 1826 General Chapter there were 22 Oblates in vows and it was with these men that the missions continued under Eugene’s guidance. While he had been in Rome, the Oblates had exhausted themselves preaching the jubilee in Aix. We have seen some of the correspondence around this situation (cf. http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=2592 for example). Now Eugene looks at the foolishness of all this energy that should have been used for the benefit of the poorer villages instead of the city.

I had enough to groan over their attributing so much importance to preaching of the Jubilee at Aix. If, in the place of this show, they had evangelized the poor abandoned souls, God would have been glorified and we would have been heaped with benedictions and consolations, instead of the disappointments that we have experienced.
I am not therefore tempted to consent that we recommence. Say what they will, I couldn’t care less and I exhort you to care not one bit more than I do. We are not, moreover, in a position to give a mission at Saint-Rémy; but there will be no shortage of little places for us.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 22 July 1826, EO VII n 250


“Oh, how I would like a poor Church, and for the poor.”   Pope Francis

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “…there will be no shortage of little places for us.” Who wants little places when there are others that are big and bright, up-and-coming, chic and popular? It seems to be an ‘allure’ that tries to seduce all of us, no matter who or where we are. And yet we continue to admire and be inspired by the Francis’s, the Eugenes, the Mother Theresas and even dare I say it some of the-at least one of the popes.

    Eugene speaks to me today about what we can get seduced by, caught up in and waste our precious energies and time on. Back to the root of who we are, where we are called to be. And it is not necessarily that what we take on and give ourselves to is bad – but always we must pray and discern if it is this which God calls us to, which will answer and fill that space in our hearts that seems to be reserved for a very specific way of living and loving. There is much that is good, but is the good that we are striving to attain, to be and so do – is it the good that God has sent us forth for? What will fill that small space within my heart that God has reserved for himself and his most beloved poor. What will the faces of those beloved look like?

    Preaching the Jubilee in Aix was not a bad thing or wrong but it was not it seemed what God was calling those early Oblates to. In this time of renewal within our Province, where are we being called to? What is and will be our priority? How and where will I fit in? How shall I be and what shall I do? Our Oblates who helped bring the Church and God to so many across this country, who have given so much and have become known and loved for that – how and where shall the energies be focused? Once again, the lived reality of daily life has met up with Eugene’s daily life of 200 years ago.

    I am continually amazed at how much Eugene and this place has to offer me. Here I am nourished, inspired, gently guided – shepherded (I love that word and all that it implies). I hear the rain outside my window and yet I smile as I great the dawn and prepare to start out. There is a smile from within – once again I begin being full of gratitude and joy.

  2. Ken Hart says:

    This post captures my misgivings too. Setting priorities and monitoring how well we stick to them is the key to Mission. We all blithely repeat the importance of evangelizing the most abandoned (with words if necessary) but so often it is something we will do in the future once we have finished …(fill in the blank). Balance is critical. We must put a priority on improving our own to serve and that of our community members (sharpen the saw in Covey’s words). But I fear we sometimes think that meetings will bring about our goals when at best they will facilitate them.

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