Before such an important moment in his life, Eugene spent 8 days in silent recollection and prayer.

My first thought as I begin these days of retreat to prepare myself for the episcopate, to which I am called by the will of our Holy Father Pope Gregory XVI, goes back to the happy time of my preparation for the priesthood. That is already a long time ago; a large part of my life has gone by in that long interval between December 1811 and October 1832, but I still remember vividly both the graces it pleased the Lord to give me and my dispositions at the time, and the resolutions God inspired in me.

He recalls the powerful graces he had received when he prepared himself for his priestly ordination. That had been for a month and after many years of seminary preparation.

I set aside a month to prepare myself to receive the imposition of hands and the great priestly character, I will have only eight days to dispose myself to receive the fullness of the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
That long retreat was preceded by several years of seminary life solely employed in the study of theology and the acquisition of the clerical virtues in the exact practice of a regular life. These eight days come after the highly active exercise of the apostolic ministry, the constant work of a twofold administration carrying with it a frightening load of responsibility.
Strictly speaking a year’s recollection would not suffice and I have only a week. May God give me the grace to make good use of it!

Retreat journal before being consecrated bishop, 7-14 October 1832, EO XV n 166

An important lesson from a busy man to us in our busy-ness: no matter how full of activity we are, we need always to bear in mind the spiritual graces that have accumulated in our ordinary lives and constitute the foundation for building our relationships today and tomorrow. Pope Francis tells us: “Holiness doesn’t mean doing extraordinary things, but doing ordinary things with love and faith.” With Mary, and Eugene, we can remember “The Lord has done great things for me!” This is what Eugene’s retreat was about: remembering and building…

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Looking back on my own life and the immensity of graces that God has given to me. So totally ‘unearned’! It is those graces that have carried me into the beginning of today. To look back is to remove the veils, to look with openness and strict honesty – not always easy. For me it means being able to look at the both-and and seeing myself as I am – so very human, filled with brokenness and at the same time with the beauty that comes from all the grace which is lavished upon me. With Mary and Eugene I can remember “the Lord has done great things for me”. Perhaps even the act of breathing and singing those words is a grace.

    These mornings here in this place are moments, not hours or weeks but simply moments that I can remember and build upon, accepting the grace that comes with them. This is very much about the ordinary of my day, of my morning, of my moments. Small daily, morning retreats with God, with Eugene, with Frank, and then throughout the day so many more – this is how I am led. The Lord has done great things for me – even this morning in the realization of what I receive.

    I am reminded of the ordinary of my day yesterday when I watched online a “Tribute to Brother Giuseppe D’Orazio OMI”. It seems to me that his daily life and way of being was in itself a song of remembering of what the Lord did for him. It is with this quiet grace that I begin my day and my weekend.

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