OUR FOUNDING VISION: MEMBERS OF A FAMILY

 The next three points of our first Rule seem very dry and technical, but underneath them is a wealth of feeling.

On entering the Society, the Missionaries must resolve to persevere in it until the end of their lives.
The Society is pledged to look after each of its members despite infirmities that may arise either from old age or from the labours of their ministry.
It accepts no obligations with regard to those who may leave its ranks.

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

Those entering the Missionaries became part of a family, to which they committed themselves heart and soul, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse… until death. The central concept used constantly by Eugene to describe the Congregation was that of the family. The pages of his writings are filled with heartfelt references to his religious family. An example from 1830:

Charity for our neighbour is again an essential part of our spirit. We practice it first amongst us by loving each other as brothers, by considering our Society only as the most united family which exists on the earth, by rejoicing over the virtues, the talents and other qualities that our brothers possess just as much as if we possessed them ourselves, in bearing with mildness the little faults that some have not yet overcome, covering them over with the mantle of the most sincere charity, etc…

Letter to Hippolyte Guibert, 29 July 1830, O.W. VII n.350

 Another example of the father of the family showing his love for his missionary Congregation as he sends Fr Tempier to Canada to do a visitation of the Oblate communities in his name:

 Go then in the name of the Lord, well-beloved son, towards that part of our family which is separated from us by so great a distance, which we have always present and intimately united to us, following it as we do with all the affection of our heart.

Mandate of Visitation to Henri Tempier, 1 May 1851, O.W. II n.145

FOUNDING VISION

With what joy Eugene would repeat those words today as he looks not only at his Oblate sons, but at the large family – composed of people from all walks of life – united and missioning according to his charism.

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One Response to OUR FOUNDING VISION: MEMBERS OF A FAMILY

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    With what joy I hear Eugene’s words today, as he looks out over us, his family, made up of people from all walks of life, from all corners of the world, united and missionning according to his charism. It is as if I begin my day sitting in a small oasis of joy and love, with a feeling that something has been recognized this morning, by myself? By God? I want to give thanks.

    Over the past week I have spent some time composing some prayers for upcoming community gathering days that will take place later this spring. I am a part of a small team As has happened the last few times when I have had the privilege of working with others on similar projects it is most gratifying for us to come together and see how the Spirit has awakened within each of us similar thoughts, showing us how we might weave them together into a small carpet that our community will walk through and on and follow during the working hours of our days together. There all of us together will offer our thread to fill in the spaces as we walk through those special days together. Each of us then offering our threads to complete the carpet. Truly a gift from God! This is what the fruits of Eugene’s words to Hippolyte Guibert will look like as they come to life. There is a grace in being able to support and share my talents with my family.

    In a couple of weeks Fr. Louis Lougen will be here in Canada with us and there will be a great grace to be found in that if our hearts are open to it. The grace comes from God, from the Holy Spirit who will speak with and through Fr. Louis. I have no doubt that just as Eugene wrote to Henri Tempier before his visit, so he will be filling Louis Lougen’s heart with similar thoughts. He is coming here for a very specific reason, and I choose to recognize the grace of that. I met him a few years ago briefly but really it is my heart that recognizes him – another member of this awesome family that God has led me to.

    A joy this morning in Lent – my heart sings softly as I look with eagerness to the start of another day, to the start of another weekend coming.

    Thank you for such life.

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