For the past six years we have been reading and reflecting on the writings of Saint Eugene in a chronological way. The last letter we had reflected on was that of 21 October 1828 (http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=2811  posted on May 12, 2015)

I then posed the question:” IS THERE SUCH A THING AS OBLATE/MAZENODIAN SPIRITUALITY?” (http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=2820, posted on August 3, 2015 ). It is a question that has accompanied us throughout the bicentenary year of our foundation, and which culminated in our reflections on the first ten constitutions of our Oblate Rule of Life – a summary of the central aspects of our charism and spirituality as a Mazenodian Family.

Now we will pick up again with the writings of St. Eugene from the latter part of 1828. It begins a decade during which he lived some of the most difficult moments of his life. The death of close collaborators, bouts of serious illness and depression, conflict and persecution by the French authorities, ordination as titular Bishop of Icosia, political conflicts leading him to be abandoned by both the King of France and the Pope. In 1837 Eugene was appointed Bishop of Marseille and we see the emergence of a man who had been refined and enriched by suffering and hardship. For the next 24 years, he was to be the guiding shepherd and father of both the Oblate Congregation in its numerical and geographic expansion, and of the diocese of Marseille, the second largest city of France – both realities exploding with new life and numbers under his guidance.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s words reflect this process in Eugene: “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.”

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May Eugene’s intercession accompany us as we recognize in his life the presence of the Crucified Savior who never abandoned him – and let us see this as an invitation to recognize Him in our own lives, especially in times of difficulty.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    It is so good to be back here in this special place and I am incredibly grateful that once again St. Eugene speaks to us in this way.

    Where have we been and where are we invited to go? Little questions that could so easily overwhelm me if I had not gotten into the practice of enduring small crucibles of my own, of reflecting on them after they had passed and looked at how just as with Eugene, they became small points of transformation in my life, within me.
    I have learned here and in the community of the Mazenodian Family to recognise the presence of the Crucified Savior in his [Eugene’s] life and then able to reflect on how this has led me to recognise Him in my own life.

    What are we invited to enter into more deeply? Not to just look and see what is but to live it – fully live it. A few days ago I was reflecting on how Eugene had invited me to share in his spirit, to share in the spirit of the many Oblates who have gone before me, share in the spirit and charisms of the Mazenodian Family who walk with me. I was able to see so very clearly that the spirit that God has given to me, my own charism was/is one that could only be recognized and lived in the light of those Oblates, those members of Eugene’s family. The invitation to enter more deeply into this way of life which all leads back to God, to our Crucified Saviour – not on my own, but only as part of a much bigger whole. It is how I find myself. This journey while at times difficult, even incredibly difficult – I think of Eugene enduring those years of the “Icosia Incident’ and how transforming they were for him. I think of Jesus the Christ – the cross but also the resurrection. This is what we are called to, to embrace. A heck of a journey.

  2. Peg Hanafin says:

    Thank you Fr Frank. Lovely and inspiring reading. Missed you from FB. Best wishes from Ireland

  3. franksantucci says:

    Thank you! It is good to be back.

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