They must be passed on to the new Oblates who will profit from such a heritage. I wish to have proper care shown in this distribution.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 8 March 1830, EO VII n 343
Eugene’s biographer, Rey, recounts that the Founder ordered that the name of the deceased Oblate be engraved on the upper part of the copper plate which covers the arms of the cross (REY, I, 482).
On the day of my lifetime oblation I was privileged to receive the Oblate Cross of Fr. Maurice Foley, who had been the second South African to have become an Oblate. He had received the cross in 1903 and only wore it for twelve years until his death in 1915 at 33 years of age. Between his death, and my receiving it on 17 February 1974, 59 years had passed and one, or possibly two, Oblates had carried this cross as their companion during their ministry. Their names were not engraved on the cross and I have been unable to trace who they were.
Thus, I like to think that I carry the cross of the “unknown Oblate” – in the spirit of the memorials which honor the “Unknown Soldier.” What a powerful reminder of the thousands of Oblates and lay associates who have evangelized in so many countries and brought countless people to know the love of the Savior – and whose names are no longer remembered. What a privilege to have been called to follow in their missionary footsteps.
The Oblate cross which is received at perpetual profession is a constant reminder of the love of the Saviour who wishes to draw all hearts to himself and sends us out as his co-workers.
CC&RR, Constitution 63