We must be filled with our spirit and live only by it. This is self-evident without it being necessary to explain it.

What makes the Oblate what he is, and distinct from any other religious in the Church? What characteristics make a member of the Mazenodian Family distinct from the members of any other ecclesial group or family? It is the family spirit expressed in our Rule of Life and lived for over 200 years.

Just as we have in a Society a common dress, common Rules, so must there be a common spirit which gives life to this particular body. The spirit of Bernardine is not that of the Jesuit. Ours also is our own.

Letter to Hippolyte Guibert, 29 July 1830, EO VII n 350

“On February 17,1826, the new Congregation and its Constitutions were formally approved by Pope Leo XII. For the Oblates, the Founder’s Preface to the Constitutions will always be an unrivalled expression of his charism and a bond of unity for the Congregation. Here, then, is that text which each succeeding generation of Oblates has treasured as its Rule of Life” Foreword to the Preface and the Oblate Constitutions and Rules.


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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    As I read the words above I am hard pressed to give expression to the spirit that Frank speaks of and there is almost a small panic that rises within me. It is in this spirit that I open my copy of the Constitutions and Rules reading the Forward and then the Preface – the Preface which has always touched me deeply. It is here that I find the words, the expressions that echo and reverberate within my heart. “We must lead men to act like human beings, first of all, and then like Christians, and, finally, we must help them to become saints.” All that I have ever wanted to be, and to be like described so eloquently in one sentence. “…by living them [the Constitutions and Rules] they hope to obtain all the benefits they need for their own sanctification and for the salvation of souls.” Yes I am seeking my own sanctification – but that only comes with the sanctification of others. I do not find my own sanctification and then look outward towards others to help them find theirs.

    The most wonderful part of it is that I don’t have to think of all of this on my own, and try to live it on my own, for I am a part of this awesome family.

    This beloved (for that is what it is becoming in my heart) Rule of Life that is shared with all of us who make up the Mazenodian Family. I think of Constitution 163 which was introduced to me yesterday: “The Constitutions and Rules set out a privileged means for each Oblate to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. They are inspired by the charism lived by the Founder and his first companions; also, they have received the approval of the Church. Thus, they allow each Oblate to evaluation the quality of his response to his vocation and to become a saint.”

    I don’t need to dream up anything new, or to rewrite any of them – they are most perfect as they are written, all that I need to do is to allow them to touch my heart and take them in, as one does food for they can then become a part of me.

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