Eugene had received the honor of being made a knight of the religious and military Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus The Oblate historian, Rey, who knew Eugene well, introduces this letter by saying: “it shows us the point of view that he uses to judge this honorific recognition, whose religious spirit allowed no illusions as to its intrinsic value: we note how these words will apply to every other honor which the Founder of the Oblates was to receive.”

I really think you make fun of me in your manner of remarking about my knighthood. But I see some hope of it being useful to the Society. What pleases me, you see, is that the King indicates precisely the reason why I have done good to his subjects, that is, by missions.
He could have stated others which would not have been of any use to me or at least which I could not have called upon in the event of some future plans we might have.

Letter to Marius Suzanne, 7 March 1827, EO VII n 264

Rey continues: “Everything is connected with the salvation of souls by his beloved religious family: an honor awarded because of the zeal that could open up new regions to evangelize – that is enough reason to give value that nothing else can remove.” Rey I p. 425

Eugene accepted this honor only because of its usefulness. It recognized the value of the Oblate missionary work, and, secondly, he hoped that it would open up a new missionary establishment in the Kingdom of Sardignia. Many official portraits of Eugene as Bishop show him wearing this decoration.


“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”   Calvin Coolidge

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Having read so many of Eugene’s letters and so getting to know him a little bit more each day I really believe what Eugene writes as his reason and how this is treated by both Rey and Frank. If we look at this with openness and gratitude, without cynicism and the need to distrust, without the need to lessen another in order to feel as good as or better than then it is so easy to see Eugene and his reasons – and to accept them. It is how too we must look at ourselves.

    Last weekend at Mass two of us who a month ago became Oblate Associates of OMI Lacombe were recognized and blessed. That was not why either of us became Oblate Associates but it was a joy to be recognized and blessed – for being ‘blessings to this community and to the world’ and asking that our lives ‘ever reflect [the] Gospel. The Holy Spirit was asked to strengthen us and continue to fill us with the fire of God’s love and to continue to inspire us and all of God’s children to live in God’s love in all that we do. The glory and honor is really all for God’s work, the joy and acceptance of this in our lives is what fans the flames and inspires us to continue on. I am grateful to be a part of something so good and right, for being invited to join in and share God’s love and life in each of us.

    At the end of the day it’s all about God and the small part that each of us get to play in being a part life with God. That perhaps is the real honor and blessing. God.

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