As we journey towards the celebration of our 200 years of existence, each day I will invite you to reflect on one step towards that event. It is not just a narrative of historical events that we want to recall, but rather the story of how God prepared Eugene de Mazenod and used him as instrument to bring about the creation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

It is thus God’s history that we will be reflecting on – but not as uninvolved spectators. The adventure that God began through Eugene’s life continues to touch and involve us today as members of the Mazenodian Family: Missionary Oblates, Lay Associates, MAMI, Partners in Mission, Oblate employees, friends of the Oblates…

What God did in and through Eugene, God continues to want to do today in and through us. Here I find the answer to the question: “How can I prepare to celebrate 200 years of Oblate foundation and missionary life?” Simply, it is to allow God to mold us and use us as instruments to continue the saving work started through Eugene.

Representatives of the Missionary Oblates will be meeting in Rome in September for an important meeting, called a General Chapter. We have a prayer in preparation for this event. I have adapted it slightly, for those who are not Oblate religious, to use during this time of celebration of our 200 years of existence. It gives us the spirit with which to approach our bicentenary:

God our Father, we thank you for the gift of the charism which
you have given us through St. Eugene de Mazenod.

You have called us to a missionary life
in order to preach the Gospel to the most abandoned:
“He has sent me to evangelize the poor”.
“The poor are being evangelized.”

At this time of celebration of the 200th anniversary of our foundation,
we ask you for the grace of finding in your Son,
Jesus Christ, the center of our life and of our mission.

We hear the call to a profound
personal and communal conversion.
Help us to become the salt of the earth
and the light of the world,
so as to proclaim in today’s world
the values of your Kingdom in word and deed.

We beg you, Lord, to send upon us your Spirit.
Help us to be yours, inflamed with your love,
sparing no effort to extend your Kingdom
and totally committed to the good of today’s poor.

We ask this through the intercession
of Mary Immaculate, our Mother,
and of Saint Eugene de Mazenod.


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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    My heart thrills to be here in this sacred place. “We” – not just I, we are all on this journey together. I see us as being parts of different streams but all coming together from all corners of the earth. Young and old; from all walks of life; speaking many languages; stepping into the footsteps of those who go before us both literally and figuratively. We are filled with a deep and quiet giddiness which can only be described as joy. Each of separately and yet together on the greatest of adventures which is possible because we come together as family.

    It is the call “to a profound personal and communal conversion” which began before time itself and which made itself heard for each of us in a most particular way 200 years ago. Is it not wondrous that God should so order the universe that like the planets and stars, we should all and each of us be separate and yet it is in our relationship with each other that we all become who we are!

    Many years ago during a retreat I was asked to draw a picture or a symbol of who I am. I drew a heart with a cross rising from within it and rays of light all around it. There were some dark spots which I said were my failings and weaknesses and there were lines – cracks throughout all of it. Today I looked and there are no lines and no definite shape. My walls of containment have fallen away and my heart is quite indistinguishable from all those around it, from the one in which it resides and gives it place. Yet it is itself there. No walls to define it but rather it has become, I have become, one small pinpoint of light which makes up the great light. And the cross, so brilliant in its being is equally integral a part of that light. It is here that I have my being.

    It is a small glimpse of God’s history that we reflect on. It is a glorious adventure that we come together to sing and dance to, the tune given to Eugene which he composed and gave words to and for which he choreographed the steps . Once again I find myself filled with gratitude for all that God has done. I am like a small child invited to walk with others, tripping along, holding the hands of many.

    And this prayer is in itself most perfect as I begin my day.

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