Borzaga - Mass

Eugene’s own experience of living “all for God” – oblation – made him sensitive to all manifestations of this in others. How proud he must be when he sees so many of his Oblate sons giving their lives in the supreme act of oblation. Mario Borzaga’s act of oblation, together with his catechist, in Laos was the highest expression of “all for God.”

This picture of the young Father Mario Borzaga celebrating Mass reminds us of Eugene’s own first Mass, which had as his intention:

Final perseverance, and even martyrdom or at least death while tending victims of the plague, or any other kind of death for God’s glory or the salvation of souls.

One of the intention for which he offered his first Mass, E.O. XIV n.100

 Eugene touched death when he was serving the Austrian prisoners in Aix, but never became a martyr. Instead he was led to understand that oblation for God and others called him to a different martyrdom: giving his life in charity for others. Thirty five years later, it is clear that this remained an ideal for him.

I have all my life desired to die a victim of charity. You know that this crown was withheld from me right from the first days of my ministry. The Lord had his designs since He wanted to trust me to give a new family to His Church; but for me it would have been a greater value to have died of the blessed typhus which I had contracted while serving prisoners.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 12 September 1849, E.O. X n.1018

 Mario Borzaga died a victim of charity in his service of the Laotian people. Mario was not the only son of Eugene to give his life for the people of Laos, the cause of five of his Oblate martyr companions is also awaiting the Pope’s recognition.

If we are inspired by Eugene’s charism, we too are called to a life of being “martyrs of charity” in our everyday lives.


“Love is all, it gives all, and it takes all.”   Soren Kierkegaard

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Both Eugene’s and Frank’s words invite me to look at my own wants and desires. Long have I wanted to be able to give all of myself for God, to give my very life for God. But it would seem that God has other designs for me – ones that I do not always recognize and others that do not always look appealing.

    At this moment I begin for just a blink in time to understand what it is to have a personal charism that does not belie or exclude the charism of another or others. This used to worry me but this morning as I think of my daily prayer to be little and hidden and nothing more than a lamp to my neighbours feet – this as I share in Eugene’s charism and the charism of the Oblates. It is as Frank wrote: “If we are inspired by Eugene’s charism, we too are called to a life of being “martyrs of charity” in our everyday lives.” There it is that being ‘little and ordinary, hidden and a small light for neighbour’s feet as they walk their journey”.

    “…In so doing, we risk finding ourselves among the marginalized of our community, our society and our church, taking our place among the poor and the powerless, walking with those who, like us, hold within themselves tremendous beauty, strength and gifts as well as weaknesses, brokenness and limitations, that together we may help one another experience the love of God, so we may be healed and give of ourselves in the service of the continuous unfolding of the reign of God within creation.” (from OMI Lacombe Canada Mission Statement)

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