Bishop Arbaud of Gap was not happy about men from his diocese joining the Oblates and believed that he still had the power to dispense them from their vows if they had become Oblates and he wanted them back in his diocese. He had not understood the basic principles of religious life, and so Eugene clarified the situation for him.

Our vows are as perpetual as the most solemn vows in the world. When we made the vow of perseverance we intended to oblige ourselves to live and die in the Congregation that has accepted our commitment. It is not up to the individual to operate according to his schemes and whims, much less to foresee a possible case of dispensation. Such a thing would not be permissible before the profession and it is absolutely impossible afterwards (questo poi è anticanonico, – this is not canonical -the Sovereign Pontiff said regarding this matter).
In our Congregation, dispensation is considered so great a disaster that we like to think there will never be any such case, now that we have been approved by the Church and have been placed in the same rank as the Lazarists, Passionists and Redemptorists …

Letter to Bishop Arbaud of Gap, 13 August 1826, EO XIII n 59


“When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.”   Howard Schultz

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I am reminded of a girl friend many years ago who was approaching her upcoming wedding and she told me she had finally gotten around to visiting her lawyer. It was to to draw up papers of what would be ‘hers’ and what was to be ‘his’ when the time came for them to separate. I was stunned beyond belief because she was not yet married but was already planning ahead for divorce. I thought how sad that was. It would be a little bit like walking into a hall to take part in peace talks but first setting up bombs so they could be blown up when the talks got derailed. The Bishop of Gap was not honoring or indeed respecting God’s call to others – except to himself. He was putting his needs and wants above another’s (or at least that is how I perceive it).

    So easy for any and all of us to do. I do that by taking the stance that my needs and wants are greater, more important, more worthy than another’s. I might do that by putting myself first over my family, over my friends, over those who work with or for me, those that I teach, etc. etc. It should be a lot harder to do that in family, community, society, the church….but it’s not. There will always be someone I suppose that we will be able to use/abuse, that is not honour or respect fully.

    This morning Richard Rohr wrote: “Yes, I am like everybody else, capable of the same good and the same bad. They are all my brothers and sisters.” The soul knows that we are all equally naked underneath our clothes…When you allow the face of the other, the opinion of the other, the worldview of the other, to break through your barriers and boundaries, there is always a bit of fear, as in the first moments of nakedness or intimacy.” Then it is as Howard Schultz writes: “When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.” This is the bridge between the two. I looked to see if this piece was tagged ‘community’. I am finding that popping up all over the place in my life, why would this place be any different!

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