WHAT HAPPENED ON 25 JANUARY 1816? THEY PUT OUR “FOUNDING VISION” INTO WORDS

What did the newly-formed group of Missionaries do on 25 January 1816?

A few weeks’ before, Eugene had written to Henri Tempier about his program for this day:

At this meeting we will draw up the Rule which we will have to follow.
We will confer on the manner in which we will carry out our good work.
We will help each other mutually with advice and with all that the good God will inspire in each of us for our common sanctification.
We will then issue our first declaration for the edification of the Church and of the people. This will be a decisive step.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 13 December 1815, EO VI n.7

After nearly 3 years of working with his youth association members, Eugene knew how essential it was to have a Rule to keep the group together and moving in the same direction. For him a Rule was much more than a book of regulations to ensure the efficient functioning of a group: a Rule was the putting into words of the ideal that inspired the group, the vision which was to guide their daily actions, and the means to achieve their ideals.

Later, Eugene was to charge Henri Tempier with the drawing up of a more definitive Rule:

 … Busy yourself with our Statutes. … Spend two hours every day at this occupation. … Read again St. Philip of Neri and the Petition that we have presented to the Vicars General…

Letter to Henri Tempier, 15 December 1816, EO VI n.16

omi rule

“When ancient opinions and rules of life are taken away, the loss cannot possibly be estimated. From that moment, we have no compass to govern us, nor can we know distinctly to what port to steer.”   Edmund Burke

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One Response to WHAT HAPPENED ON 25 JANUARY 1816? THEY PUT OUR “FOUNDING VISION” INTO WORDS

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    That most particular founding vision of Eugene and then of those first few men, passed on and shared with so many who somehow added their own views of the mission, passed on and shared. Today, those founding visions which become in so many ways a part of us as we add our own ways of seeing and living them, never lessening them but making them stronger and even more brilliant.

    It is like a giant tapestry of life and the Rules of Life are the design, the pattern which has been given to us, the frame that holds it all together and each of us is a thread, a unique and brilliant thread that runs through it, adding to the richness and joy. There is an incredible freedom with this shared vision and purpose, this community formed and come alive because of it. For within this tapestry of life, the gifts and colours of all who have walked before us, those with us now and many yet to come – each of us called and allowing ourselves to be woven in and a part of all other. We shine so as to shed light on each of our brothers and sisters and highlight their brilliance, their uniqueness and gifts.

    Beginning with Eugene whom God has given me the grace to come to know and all of his sons and daughters, each and all a part of the communion of saints who are themselves brilliant and beautiful threads, interwoven with me so that I do not have to stand alone. It is that founding vision, those rules of life that are the steel girders that help me to stand, the strength of the threads interwoven that support and carry me when and where I am weak. And I – well I get to do the same.

    “We will help each other mutually with advice and with all that the good God will inspire in each of us for our common sanctification.” I am so very grateful to be where I am today, a member of this most awesome family, sitting quietly in the shade of others for it is here that I see all the colours and depths of the others.

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