In the words of the Preface, Eugene answers the question:

Who is it decreed the foundation of our Congregation? This is what our Constitutions teach me:
« … the Church, inheritance purchased by Christ the Savior… has in our days been cruelly ravaged. This beloved spouse of God’s only begotten Son is torn with anguish as she mourns the shameful defection … etc.  Faced with such a deplorable situation, the Church earnestly appeals to the ministers etc… »
Is it surprising that the sight of these disorders inspired a certain generous thought? There appeared some priests who were touched by it.
“The sight of these evils has so touched the hearts of certain priests, zealous for the glory of God, men with an ardent love for the Church…”, that they are willing to give their lives, if need be, for the salvation of souls.
May they remember what grace inspired them with. It meant nothing less than making an offering of themselves: “that they are willing to give their lives, if need be, for the salvation of souls”.
Nothing being loftier than this offering, what do I conclude? It is that nothing should seem difficult, or too painful, when one has given oneself as an offering.

Retreat notes, October 1831, EO XV n. 163


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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I remember the first few times I read the Preface – the language seemed so zealous, so exaggerated. Much easier and safer to pass over than to dwell on. And now? Perhaps it is just that I am used to them, or have they somehow become a part of me, taking up residence in my heart? No it is more than that for as I read the words, unbidden images of men, Eugene and those first Oblates, the hardships they faced for I have read of some of them, and I have met others living now, a part of my world who also faced immense challenges, and who said yes – over and over again. I think of Eugene and the period that is beginning in his life shortly after this was written. True he did not have to give his life in the same way as some of his sons would experience – so he missed the title of ‘martyr’ and yet I look at how he died to himself – for God, his all for God. And for his beloved Church for he seemed to be caught in the middle and he would not deny her dictates or requests.

    It was grace that got so many through, it was from grace that they received the courage and strength to continue on – in little ways and big ways for I don’t think they were ever measured. Yesterday after my weekend I started out, still feeling open, vulnerable – having to be ready to give my all in whatever way God called me to; and just like Eugene in the first half of the 1830s, and like so many Oblates over the course of 200 years, saying yes to God with their lives, facing what seemed to be insurmountable odds, challenges that were far beyond the capacity for a mere human to complete. It was not just something they reflected and pondered on – they lived it, faced it on the inside so as to be able to live it on the outside. Yesterday meeting up with a friend and indeed I was called to love for she was in great pain and who needed only to know she was loved and that she was not alone. But, who like Eugene and so many others, had to walk the walk herself with only God to carry her through parts of it. That human part of us! And I was able by the grace of God to remain open to her, with her.
    This has been the example of my beloved Oblates and the Mazenodian Family – indeed of so many who make up our Church and our world. This has been how I see Jesus lived and lives today. All this for the salvation of souls – our own, my own and others.

    Yesterday I was graced to be standing on holy ground.

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