Edm mission

Thirty seven years after our foundation, the face of the Oblates had changed. We started as six people in Aix en Provence, and by 1853 we had expanded to Canada, the USA, Ireland and Britain, Ceylon and Natal. The original founding vision needed to be expanded again in order to embrace this new reality.

In the Rule of Life published in 1853, Eugene expressed the Oblate ideal in this way:

Whoever wishes to become one of us
must have an ardent desire for his own perfection,
and be enflamed with love for our Lord Jesus Christ and his Church
and a burning zeal for the salvation of souls.
He must free his heart from every disorderly affection for things on earth,
and from excessive attachment to parents and native land;
he must have no desire for money,
but will rather look upon riches as so much rubbish so as to seek no gain
other than Jesus Christ;
his desire must be to commit himself to the exclusive
service of God and of the Church,
whether in the Missions or in the other ministries of the Congregation.


Finally, he must have the will to persevere unto death
in fidelity and obedience to the Rules of the Institute.
Rule of 1853


“Faith is an orientation of the total person, giving purpose and goal to one’s hopes and strivings, thoughts and actions.”   James W. Fowler

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I sit here, much later than usual, it has taken me almost three hours to get up. Nothing dire but my head is filled with some kind of wool and I have no voice. I had planned to go to see Fr. Louis Lougen receive his honorary doctorate from St. Paul University last night, but had to content myself with watching it live. This was one of those times when technology was truly a gift. Listening to all of the speakers it was not just about Louis Lougen, Superior General – it was about the entire congregation. I felt incredible pride to be associated with such a group, most certainly with the priests and brothers, but also with the sisters and all who make up a part of the Mazenodian Family.

    My heart is enflamed this morning, not just because of a cold, but because the fire within it is fanned as I go over the words of Eugene as he presented them to the 1853 Rule. I look at how I try to live them, some points more successfully than others – none of which have anything to do with official church status or gender. It is how I try to live it as a lay person, as a lay Oblate, an Oblate Associate. I struggle with the ‘freeing my heart from every disorderly affection for things on earth’. What is that? Addictions, love of things? Am not quite sure. I don’t have a burning desire for money, but I have been known to buy a lottery ticket once in a while. It is all most imperfect on my part. Riches – I have been blessed to receive so many riches from God – they might not be monetary or goods but they are perhaps the best kind anyone would wish to have.

    Not much of a reflection this morning but I wanted to come here to this sacred space even if it meant being silent. It can be so very good to be able pray with others even if it is only in spirit – I look at what I have written and want to laugh. If it is only in spirit, in the Spirit then I guess I am doing very well. I feel though a little more contented than when I began.

  2. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    It is almost a year later as I look at this. I have in the past few weeks been looking at the Constitutions and Rules very closely. I have gone to the Dictionary of Oblate Values and downloaded the piece on the Constitutions and Rules so as to be able to reflect on it piece by piece drawn by something much greater than myself. It is more than memorizing but rather is tasting, chewing and swallowing so that it feeds me and becomes a part of me. It is not an explanation of the constitutions and rules that make up this Rule of Life, but rather it explains how it is the living spirit of Eugene – it is through living this Rule of Life that we share in the spirit of Eugene, making it ours and adding ours to the overall.

    It has been a beginning just as this piece was part of the beginning where Frank shared with us thoughts and reflections on the first 10 Constitutions. So for the next week I will simply reflect again on certain pieces.

    I read what Eugene has written here – his ideal of the Oblate way of life. I have no wish to deny it and believe it to be possible for me to live this – I think of Henri Tempier’s response to Eugene’s letter of 1815 where he wrote: “So it is for me to thank you for having judged me worthy to work for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. It is true that I do not see in myself the ability to preach necessary to a missionary… […] What I shall not do in teaching catechism, in giving talks, in hearing confessions, and by all other means which can establish the reign of Jesus Christ in souls. I find nothing inferior and painful in this. […] By the grace of God, I do feel this desire in me, or if I do not have it, I greatly desire to have it; and with you beside me, everything will become even easier.” I think for a moment of Rule 37a which speaks about Oblate Associates: “…They share in the charism in a spirit of communion and reciprocity amongst themselves and with the Oblates.

    Eugene’s words of 1853 – the language is a little stronger, a little more zealous than what we expect more than 150 years later. But still it triggers within me a response that is a mixture of joy and gratitude, hope and surrender as I come to understand more deeply the freedom that obedience to these “Rules of the Institute’ will bring.

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