In his correspondence with the various bishops, under whose jurisdiction the Oblates ministered, Eugene was always focused on ministry in accordance with the founding inspiration he had received from God. While always wishing to cooperate with tehj nbishops in whose diocese the Oblates were present, any requests for ministry were always subjected to this test. In this case, the Bishop was requesting Oblates for prison ministry – a form of evangelization at the heart of our charism.

We consider you so much our father that we refuse nothing that you are pleased to propose to us. You think that our Missionaries would do well at the prison. So be it. With your blessing, they will certainly succeed. Obedience has worked as many miracles as faith has; my dear Missionaries have experienced that wherever your Lordship has sent them.
The motto is: Let’s do some good while we have the time.

Letter to Bishop Chaffoy, Bishop of Nimes, 10 March 1828, EO XIII n 66


The chaplain can relate to this saying as he journeys with prisoners: “Two prisoners look out the same prison window; one sees bars and the other stars.”

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I must admit that I do not think very often about the prison ministry. I am not involved in it, yet in truth it is only because of a prolonged bout of grace from God that I did not end up there. Strangely enough there is a small part of me that is grateful for those who serve in this ministry that Eugene was such a part of in his younger years.

    But it does remind me of about being faithful to the ministries that I do serve in. There is a meeting tonight with a group of people that I love dearly. I had thought of perhaps skipping it this month – I have been working hard the past few weeks and am tired. I thought of just not going out tonight. But now on second thought – I look and these people, though not prisoners, at least in the sense we are speaking of here, they nourish me far more I am sure than I them. Not the best reason for going there perhaps but an honest one.

    Yes – I will go – not because I have to, but because I want to, because I cannot help myself. There will never be a better time than now.

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