As we prepare to celebrate our patronal feast, and the start of the Year of Mercy, we recall a day which was to leave a permanent impression on the history of our Mazenodian family – and so it is important to explore what happened. Achille Rey, who knew Eugene well, wrote in his biography:

August 15 1822 witnessed a feast in the Church of the mission of Aix. Fr. de Mazenod blessed, in the presence of a large gathering of his youth congregants and of other pious faithful, a statue of the Most Holy Virgin, under the title of the Immaculate Conception. It is to this same statue that he came for long and frequent prayers: it has become one of the most precious souvenirs of the origins of the family.

Rey I, p. 280

   In the review, Missions O.M.I., of 1908, p. 279, we   find the following description: “Her head, crowned with twelve stars, is   lifted toward heaven in an attitude of prayer. She wears a golden veil, the   same colour as her long robe and her mantle. She is portrayed as the   Immaculate Conception with one foot standing on the crescent moon and the   other upon a serpent she is crushing. Her right hand is resting on her heart   while her other hand is open, spreading graces on her children who are   praying to her.”

In a July 15, 1889 report from the Oblate house in Aix, Father Prosper Monnet described the internal chapel of the Mission church at Aix with the altar of the vows and the “antique Virgin which formerly smiled upon our venerated Founder and today still stands on her rich marble pedestal…” (Missions O.M.I., 27, (1889), p. 285).

Yvon Beaudoin, “Oblate Madonna” in Historical Dictionary, Volume 1 (

 And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.      Genesis 3:15

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.       Book of Revelation12:1


The Virgin received Salvation so that she may give it back to the centuries.” Peter Chrysologus

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    What a wonderful surprise – to awaken this Sunday morning, the 2nd Sunday in Advent with an invitation to enter into this space, looking towards our December 8th celebration of the Immaculate Conception and a year of Mercy.

    Sundays have become more and more a day set aside – to share with my community(s) in that which is truly of the utmost importance to me. There will always be activities on Sundays, but first and foremost is being able to awaken slowly and prepare, mentally, and physically to join with my loved brothers and sister in a celebration of the Eucharist – Mass. The coming together, greeting, catching up, joining with others, sharing and celebrating, bringing with us our joys and sadness, our yearnings and dreams and sitting with them., This is what feeds me. It is still early yet as I sit here writing a spark of anticipation begins to catch fire within me. Hope is before me, quietly evident and trumpeting it’s own horn.

    “The Virgin received Salvation so that she may give it back to the centuries.” In fourteen words Peter Chrysologus has captured the message that Eugene would spend his life living out, and that he would pass on to his sons and daughters. It is so very evident. This spirit of how we are called to live. I read this line and immediately thought of Eugene and the Oblates, quite specific actually! Our Lady, our Mother who Eugene looked at and intuited, experienced from her a message of his being exactly where he was supposed to be. It all reaches far past the limits of the physical – it was an embrace for him just as it can be for us.

    This December 8th, this Feast of the Immaculate Conception, two friends will make their commitments as Oblate Associates and receive their crosses (there is a giving and receiving in this small celebration). I have known both of them for some time now and am filled with joy for them. One of them has become a very dear friend who I have had the privilege of walking with in a very special way for the past two years, sharing with her all the love I have for Eugene, for Our Lady, for our Beloved Crucified Savior. Formation they call it, but really it is a giving and receiving, back and forth. The graces which we have received in each other! Awesome.

    December 8th, the beginning of the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. There is something very special here for even as I sit with these words there are tears which fill my eyes. There are tears simply because I experience the greatness of our God. Whenever I think of the mercy of our God it is always wrapped in tenderness. Exquisite and utter tenderness. My heart is full.

    Gratitude. All encompassing gratitude is what fills me this Sunday morning. The 2nd Sunday in Advent, we prepare and wait for what is to come. The celebration of the Immaculate Conception, Mary, our Mother. Of the beginning of the Year of Mercy. Of my dear dear friend Gail as she makes her Commitment and receives with joy her Cross, a small symbol of who she is. And who knows with such a build-up – Christmas itself might just not be so painful or so lonely. Hope.

    We have so much to celebrate this Sunday. I feel as if God has embraced me for I am filled with love and gratitude, hope and trust, anticipation…This is the great spirit of Advent!

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