The undersigned priests …
-have the honor of requesting from you the authorization to come together at Aix in the old house of the Carmelites which one of them has acquired; and to live there in community under a Rule whose main points they now indicate to you:

The first point that they indicated was:

The end of this Society is not only to work for the salvation of others by dedicating itself to the ministry of preaching;
its chief aim also includes providing its members with the means necessary to practice the religious virtues to which they are so strongly attached
that the greater number of them would have consecrated themselves for life to their observance in some religious order, did they not nurture the hope of finding in the Missionaries’ community more or less the same advantages as in the religious state to which they wanted to dedicate themselves.

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

Eugene was an “all-or-nothing” person and he wanted a 100% dedication to God and a 100% dedication to evangelizing the most abandoned at the same time. From the beginning he understood the commitment of religious life as the way for him to bring these two ideals together. His companions, however, were diocesan priests – not all of whom saw things exactly as he did. They generously wanted to give themselves to God and to the salvation of others, but without making vows. This paragraph of their first Rule shows the compromise that was to last for nearly three years: live the spirit of religious life but without making vows.

Eugene was so convinced of the need for a formal consecration that he and Henri Tempier were to make private vows ten weeks’ later. For him it was a question of all or nothing!

Not all in that original group saw themselves as called to religious life. Initially it was only Eugene and Tempier. Despite this, the others were 100% part of the group and made their own commitment to the vision.

This continues to be reflected today. All over the world people who come into contact with the charism of St Eugene are touched and want to participate in his vision according to their state in life and possibilities.

What is clear is that through the charism of Eugene, the Savior touches people’s lives and they are impelled to respond 100%. This is “oblation” as a married person, as a single person, in consecrated life or in priesthood – expressed as each one discerns possible according to their state in life.


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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    This morning’s reflection is very personal to me. I am deeply convinced that I am exactly where God has ordained me to be. I look at how I have lived and like Eugene and so many others, I too am a 100% type of person. I have desired – I do continue to desire – to give 100% of myself to God, as God has called me to be. That it should be Eugene and the Oblates who I feel called to walk with as a lay single person and to share in the charism with is a bit of a miracle. Like it was with Eugene and Henri Tempier it is not universally accepted, and yet it is so deeply embedded within me that I will not let it go and so I live it quite deliberately, quietly and in the ways that I can.

    There is a part of me, as I sit here, that keeps hearing Martin Luther King’s voice saying over and over; “I have a dream…” I have a dream that people will be defined not by their state in life but rather by how they live it. As I renewed my commitment last week in front of my parish community, my friends and with other members of the Mazenodian family I dreamed of one day being able to renew my silent ‘vow’ to live sharing this most awesome charism.

    Like King I too have a dream and how wonderful is it that God should fill me with that! And so just as did Eugene and so many others respond with 100%, just as do millions of others throughout the world respond and live, so do I try to do just that. It is a total response to what God has called me to, to what Eugene and the Oblates have invited me to.

    This founding vision that I see began with Jesus and his followers. Again the image of the flaming hearts before me, I allow an instant to step out of time and simply be. I am filled with immense gratitude and deep joy. It is from this that I respond with a resounding yes to who I am called to be.

    This is what love looks like. This is what it looks like for all of us to carry the founding vision and live ‘all or nothing’.

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