Eugene continues to reminisce about the first day of community life of the Oblates, as he writes to the young scholastics.

The table that adorned our refectory was one plank laid alongside another, on top of two old barrels. We have never enjoyed the blessing of such poverty since the time we took the vow.

At that stage they did not make vows as religious. The vows came in a couple of years later as they aimed at living in a “state of perfection”

Without question, it was a foreshadowing of the state of perfection that we now live so imperfectly.
I highlight this wholly voluntary deprivation deliberately (it would have been easy to put a stop to it and to have everything that was needed brought from my mother’s house) so as to draw the lesson that God in his goodness was directing us even then, and really without us having yet given it a thought, towards the evangelical counsels which we were to profess later on.
It is through experiencing them that we learnt their value.

Eugene recalls the joy of that happening, and wishes he could relive it with the future Oblates.

I assure you we lost none of our merriment; on the contrary, as this new way of life was in quite striking contrast with that we had just left, we often found ourselves having a hearty laugh over it. I owed this tribute to the memory of our first day of common life. How happy I would be to live it now with you!

Letter to Jean Baptiste Mille, 24 January 1831, EO VIII n 383

“How happy I would be to live it now with you!” he continues to say to each of us today: live in the enthusiasm of the first beginnings of your vocation around the charism and spirituality he has left us

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    How grateful I am that Eugene wrote and shared his life – for this is how we come to know him. He is my ‘hero’ and even more than that for he inspires me, teaches me, is a model for the life that I have said yes to. His charism, his spirituality – still with us today, that special gift and spirit, lived out in those of us who have been invited and chosen to this particular way life. How grateful I am that his sons have shared that with all of us who feel called to be a part of this Mazenodian Family.

    At first glance it might not ‘look’ the same among us, but as we look deeper it is most definitely there. I look back to when I first met Eugene de Mazenod; there was somehow a ‘connection’ that only became clear as I pursued it; it was a time of some struggle but it was also a time of wonder and joy. And if I let it, it remains like that today.

    Yesterday Frank used the word ‘adventure’ which I am not used to associating with life as I know it. And yet today I pick up that word and let it roll around within me.
    This morning I am excited to enter more deeply into this adventure of going more deeply into the charism and spirituality that Eugene has given to us. How blessed are we who have and take this opportunity; rounding out the picture and reflecting back on our own lives – seeing how this is lived out today with all of us.

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