Jean Baptiste Honorat had been superior of the house in Nimes, but the events after the 1830 Revolution had forced te closure of the house and the departure of the community. The governnet was not allowing the preaching of parish missions, thus Fr Honorat proposed a different ministry not connected with parish missions.

I have had a letter from Honorat, as I expected, but I do not mean to write in reply as I think you are in correspondence with him. Please convey to him my opinion on the matter he asked me about. Full of zeal for the salvation of souls, he would like to preach to the poor, from place to place, convinced that his ministry would not be unfruitful, seeking nothing but the glory of God, and not wanting any wages other than his daily bread.
His noble convictions evoke my admiration although they do not surprise me; this holy priest is fully equal to all the demands of his state of life and is capable of exceptional zeal.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 20 January 1831, EO VIII n 382

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Here is a man, not unlike Eugene himself, who when one avenue or door became closed to him did not give up, but found a new way, always in the light of serving the poor. He was one of the first to come to Canada.

    When I was looking/learning about the 1830 three day revolution in my course, and of the closing of the Oblate house in Nimes I did not stop to consider what that meant to the Oblates who were there (in truth it was one more piece of information I was trying to learn about, cram into my head with the hopes that it would somehow find its way to my heart). I am reminded of that this morning and I am grateful for the opportunity to again meet at Fr. Honorat. Perhaps my learning and reflecting are not separate from each other and are actually coming together in my heart.

    In the spirit of St. Eugene, Fr. Honorat stepped forward and looked for a new way to serve the poor of the region he was in (just as he would later do when he came to Canada). I could quite easily echo Eugene’s sentiments of ‘his noble convictions evoke my admiration’.

    I feel as if I am in the middle of a flowing river – and the river is known as the Oblates. Time is neither an obstacle nor a hindrance as I seem to be one with the waters flowing back and forth between Eugene’s time (and even before that) and the present. Even here in this place – “Eugene de Mazenod speaks to us” – through his writings, through his sons and daughters – it is always relevant and continues to withstand the test of time. Like Eugene, like Jean Baptiste Honorat, like the congregation today –open and flexible to the new and changing faces of the poor and rooted in Jesus who is not bound by time.

    Friday – today we begin to move into Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. I am filled with gratitude, for all that I receive – for the harvest of which there are many kinds. Happy Thanksgiving.

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