The last entry before the pause dealt with the mission center at the Shrine of Our Lady of Laus and the disapproval of the local bishop on the pastoral approach of the Oblates ( Eugene’s response to the bishop became an opportunity to express our relationship to Mary Immaculate.

I have always spoken to you in the same language in regard to Notre Dame du Laus. This shrine is dear to the whole Society since all of us profess a very special devotion to the Mother of God.

He continues by quoting the mandate given to us by Pope Leo XII on 2 March 1826 when he signed the decree of approval of our Congregation:

The Church has laid on us a duty pleasing, to be sure, but a duty nonetheless of spreading devotion to her: “We firmly hope that the members of this holy Family, who are employed in the ministry of the word of God under rules so well fitted to form hearts to piety, and who claim as their patroness, the Virgin Mother of God conceived without sin, will strive with all their strength and especially by their example, to bring back to the bosom of the Mother of Mercy those men, whom Jesus Christ on his Cross willed to give her as her sons.”
These are the words of the decree. We shall then never leave the shrine unless we are constrained to do so, by force.

Letter to Bishop Arbaud of Gap, 10 March 1828, EO XIII n 64

 We possess an excerpt from Bishop Arbaud’s reply to the letter of March 10: “I was very satisfied with your last letter. The slight fog that has befuddled our relations for some time is certainly dissipated for good. Had I been in your place, I would have been hurt by my letters; if you had been in mine, you would have done as I did,” April 10, cf. Missions OM1, 1897, p.367.


“To succeed in your mission, you must have single-minded devotion to your goal.”    A. Kalam

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I am running late this morning and find my own self in an almost befuddled state – mostly because I do not want to miss the opportunity to start my day in this place.

    I do not hear blame or anything like that in Eugene’s letter, but rather he professes his and the congregation’s love and duty arising out of that love to Our Lady. It seems to have been a ‘rocky’ relationship with Bishop Arbaud from the beginning and yet here I find Eugene looking and stating once again the common ground that they meet on, while standing strong and firm on the why of there being there. He is in my mind this morning, a ‘rock’. The large immovable kind of rock in the garden that cannot be moved and so we plant and grow around it, making it part and even central to the space of life and beauty. A strength that becomes the focal point.

    It is my response to the words from Bishop Arbaud that surprise me. For the first time I find myself looking at what it might all of seemed like from his point of view, where he was coming from. He states really that he is no different from Eugene and puts both of them in each other’s place. He too has let go of something.

    I know from my own life and tendencies to judge and/or react that when I let go of ‘myself’ and my hurts etc etc that everything changes. My view, how I see things is different, my attitude colours how and what I see. If ever there was an example of this it is certainly Our Lady, and then Eugene himself, especially after 1833-34. Perhaps it is because we are in the Easter Season, living in the Resurrection but I find my thoughts and reflection coloured. Both here in this place and in my daily life I find myself wanting more and more to let go of old hurts, of the slights and just stating that this is who I am and how I live and moving forward with that in love. First comes the desire to change and then the grace to do so. It would seem that both Eugene and Bishop Arbaud are meeting at a common point – that where is Our Lady.

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