Hours before his episcopal consecration in Rome, Eugene felt the absence of his mother and loved ones in Aix.

I leave to your imagination, my darling beloved mother, the disappointment I experience at being separated from you in such an important event in my life, when it would be so consoling for me to receive your blessings and then pour out on you the first and most abundant of those it will be in my power to bestow in the sublime order to which I am going to be raised tomorrow.

He offers this to God as an act of prayer asking for the graces he will need as a bishop:

It is the greatest sacrifice that could be imposed on me, and I offer it to the Lord in compensation for what I lack in virtue to be worthy of the high vocation to which I am called by the totally free mercy of God.

Then Eugene continued, in a characteristic of his spirituality, to remind her that they would be united at the same time in the presence of God

However, my dear mother, you must know that, although you are very far away from me, you are always present to me, and that tomorrow especially there will be no distance at all in my mind, surrounded as I shall be by all those who have the right to my affection and on whose concern I am counting. So, removing itself from the crowd of curious onlookers my eyes may see, my soul absorbed in God will see you in Him…

Letter to his mother, 13 October 1832, EO XV n 167

This is what we call “oraison” – that special moment of prayer where Eugene and his missionary sons and loved ones were united in prayer at the same time despite geographical distances. Here is just one of many examples he wrote to the Oblates in the distant foreign missions:

I have only one way of drawing near to, and that is in front of the Blessed Sacrament where I seem to see you and to touch you. And you for your part must often be in his presence. It is thus that we meet one another within this living center which is our means of communication.

Letter to Albert Lacombe, 6 March 1857, EO II n 229

This entry was posted in WRITINGS. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    There is something more to this than simply Eugene’s emotions ‘running amok’! I can remember years ago Bishop Peter telling me as we prepared to return to our respective homes from Convocation – he looked at me and said ‘Goodbye until we meet in prayer’. ‘We will meet in prayer.’ Consolation.

    I think of the words we say at Mass – “…through Him and with Him and in Him…” and for a moment of the courses I am taking, – it is all within, through and in Him – my Beloved – in a very real way – more than something just born out of yearnings or wants. For even those yearnings and wants are God-given.

    Oraison – it was first explained to me as doing what Eugene loved to do – sit with God. It was/is so much more. It is intensely personal and intimate while at the same time being communal as we meet and join with others in and with and through Him. Love – our hearts – our beings uniting – within, through and in Him who is all.

    This past summer I received what I can only call a beautiful gift of grace. Novices from the Immaculate Heart of Mary Novitiate (OMI) shared with me a project that some of them had worked on – the Liturgy of the Hours for Ordinary Time. I have made this a part of my morning and evening prayer ritual. Praying with them – meeting in prayer with them and the other Oblates who say this prayer, meeting within and through and in… a connection.

    I think for a moment of those that I am studying with as together we journey through our “Oblate Studies” – they are not all Oblates or Oblate Associates. Oraison – Is it not amazing what the heart can do! All through our God. I begin to understand or perhaps ‘know’ this a little more deeply – there is depth and meaning as I think of the Scriptures and what Jesus said to us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *