Having outlined the major points of their vision statement, the missionaries continued:

The undersigned priests: …
–and wishing to accomplish it in a manner as useful to themselves as it is beneficial for the people whom they propose to evangelize…

Request to the Capitular Vicars of Aix, 25 January 1816, EO XIII n.2

Why did these men come together for the service of others? Was it pure altruism or philanthropy? No! It all hinges around the word “salvation.” From the beginning, Eugene was to define our ministry as that of being “co-operators of the Savior.” The aim of the lives and ministry of the founding group was salvation for themselves and for those to whom they ministered. It was the living out of the answer to the ageless Catechism question: “Why did God create us?” The reply was: “To love Him and serve Him in this world so that we can be happy with Him in the next.”

Eugene was convinced that anyone of his group who lived the demands of his vocation well (in other words, faithfully followed the Rule of Life) would go straight to heaven after his death. So, the missionaries had a clear purpose: eternal salvation for themselves and all the people they ministered too. Eugene summed this up in the Preface when he wrote:

“Take great care about what you do and what you teach,” was Paul’s charge to Timothy, “Always do this, and thus you will save both yourself and those who listen to you” (I Tim 4:16)

Today, the same applies, when we speak of salvation by using Jesus’ own vocabulary of entering the Kingdom of God:

“We come before him bearing with us the daily pressures of our anxiety for those to whom he sends us (cf. 2 Cor 11:28). Our life in all its dimensions is a prayer that, in us and through us, God’s kingdom come.” CC&RR, Constitution 32


How beautiful this is: as Missionary Oblates, our life in all its dimensions is a prayer, as lay associates our life in all its dimensions is a prayer, as anyone who is touched in any way by the charism of St Eugene, our life in all its dimensions is a prayer. As a large world-wide Mazenodian Family, our life in all its dimensions is a prayer – and what a rich variety of instruments we make so that, in us and through us, God’s kingdom come! Eugene’s co-operators of the Savior!

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I sit here amazed and grateful. “…our life in all its dimensions is a prayer”. “…in us and through us God’s kingdom come”. “Eugene’s co-operators of the Saviour”. I remember many times telling God that I wanted my life to be a prayer, not just to have prayer in my life – all an integral part of who I am in God. To be an integral part of the kingdom of God – not separate from but one with, taking part. Being “co-operators of Christ the Saviour” – the cross, that glorious cross which is not just death but rather death and new life, transformation, resurrection.

    My own personal life is here in the middle of these few words, and they bring me great consolation and comfort. I am reminded of the paschal mystery that is in and through all of our lives. I think this morning of Holy Saturday when we sit waiting and empty, grieving and just being. I am constantly amazed at how the Holy Spirit not only works in my life but is in my life, bringing everything together. “our life in all its dimensions is a prayer” this is what ‘oblation’ looks like. For me today it is to sit and wait for God to fill a hole within me, one which I dare not try to fill it myself.

    I wait, trusting, hoping, begging and thanking. A little more subdued than normal, perhaps because as I go through this day God is carrying me through the love of my communities, my families. In us and through us God’s kingdom comes.

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