Now we have four in Heaven; this is already a nice community.

Eugene speaks of the first four Oblates to have died: Fathers J. A. Jourdan (+April, 1823). J. J. Marcou (+August 20, 1826), Brother P.P. Dumolard (+July 9, 1828) and Father V. A. Arnoux (+July 13, 1828).

The earthly community which was so close to Eugene’s heart, was not destroyed by the death of its members, but extended in an eternal way.

They are the first stones, the foundation stones of the building which must be constructed in the celestial Jerusalem; they are before God with the sign, the kind of character proper to our Society, the common vows of all her members, the practice of the same virtues. We are attached to them by the bonds of a particular charity, they are still our brothers, and we are theirs; they dwell in our mother house, our headquarters; their prayers, the love which they keep for us, will draw us one day to them so as to dwell with them in the place of our rest.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 22 July 1828, EO VII n 307

What beautiful words about communion with our loved ones!


“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.”   Marcus Tullius Cicero

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    For some reason as I sit here this morning I find myself singing to myself the tune from Les Miserables, Empty Chairs and Empty Tables but I change the words slightly to reflect truth and life as I sing it.

    There has always been a communion for me with some who have died. They are gone, but not.

    More than 40 years ago, before I quite the drinking and the drugging a very special friend of mine died. Her name was Kay Cronin and she was an Honorary Oblate. Alive she had always loved me, spoke the truth, but always loved me. And when she died that did not change. I kept ‘in touch’ with her, when I sobered up and then came back into the church. When I met the Oblates and later when I met St. Eugene. That gave us something in common and I would tell her when I met or got to know better one of ‘her’ Oblates. The bond of our relationship grew even as time passed and ‘her’ Oblates became ‘our’ Oblates and as some of the ones she would have known passed on I would speak to her about them.

    Kay remains one of my dearest ‘sisters’ just as Thomas Cassidy remains one of my dearest brothers. They are all there, even my son, waiting, praying, being…

    I don’t know how ‘heaven’ works, or what it will be like after I die. There is a small place deep within me that knows it will be most perfect, most full of all life, one with every other person and being but I am unable to see, define or describe that place right now. That communion that Frank has spoken of – how perfect will that be to fully realise.

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