Once the decision had been made, and Eugene had requested this new name, he was filled with joy at having done the right thing.

Oblates of the Immaculate Mary. But this is a passport to heaven! How have we not thought of it sooner?

Letter to Henri Tempier, 22 December 1825, EO VI n 213

Why had he not thought of it before? In the coming days I will explore some of the texts that show the place of Mary in Eugene’s life before this decision.

Eugene “seems to become aware of the fact that, even if he had always loved Mary, he had not yet understood the essential role she played in the plan of Redemption. In searching for the patron who best expressed the goal of his Congregation – that is a person walking in the footsteps of Christ, committed to the apostolate of service and to the instruction of the poor – he had not thought of Mary. While in Rome, he understood who Mary really was. The title of the Congregation was thus born from a discovery that, in order to respond in an authentic way to the urgent needs of the Church, its members should identify with Mary Immaculate “to offer themselves” to the service of God’s plan of salvation like she did.”   Casimir Lubowicki, “Mary” in the Dictionary of Oblate Values, https://www.omiworld.org/lemma/mary/


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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    A week ago I was asked why Eugene ‘seemed to be sitting on the fence’ when Fr. Forbin Janson was asking him to join the Missionaries of France, was he simply playing ‘hard to get’. I responded no that was not the case. Eugene had been in the seminary with Forbin Janson and they were friends and it was from Forbin Janson that he heard the Pope’s message about what the Church of France needed – was for the priests to give missions to the people and retreats to other priests. But Eugene held back, praying, listening, until all of a sudden it became very clear within him, what God was calling him to do. Eugene never had great and magnificent visions of what his life would look like – it was never laid out before him like a carpet that all he had to do was step onto it and he would be ‘transported’ through his life. So he waited and moved – step by step as God led him on his journey. Once he knew what he was being called to he moved forward with alarming speed and passion and no small amount of joy.

    When I first met the Oblates and started to come to know them I had no idea of why they were called Oblates of Mary Immaculate. And then later during a retreat when one of them said to me how Mary with her ‘Fiat’ was the first model of Oblation – it clicked and my unspoken response was ‘of course – how perfect is that fit!’ There were tiny points of joy within me as I looked inwardly towards the woman that I called “Maman” and saw how perfect it was. Why had I not figured it out before? I guess it doesn’t really matter, for it was given to me when God knew it was time for me to receive it.

    Today I find myself sitting here with Mary and silently singing the Magnificat – Mary’s canticle of ‘yes’ that speaks totally about the wonders of our God – it’s not really about her at all but about God. And in singing it I find myself being filled with joy and gratitude. It is like an early start to Advent, for I am waiting and preparing and anticipating December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception!

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