Eugene accepted to be made a bishop, after consultation with the Oblates, for the welfare of the Congregation. He remained 100 percent Oblate.

… you will readily understand that this high dignity, this great character that has been bestowed upon me, does not relax a single one of the bonds that bind me to our Congregation, since, rather, the overriding reason for the submission of my will has been the consciousness of the good that would flow from it for the Congregation…

He then explains how useful it would be for the Missionary Oblates to be represented by someone who had an acknowledged presence in the hierarchy of the Church.

Confined as we are, and still little known, it is my opinion, and those other Oblates whom I was bound to consult thought the same, that it would be very advantageous if we could when need arose indicate that the representative of this small and unknown family, but newly-born, and which has had to begin its growth in the midst of thorns, is a bishop, and a bishop chosen, elected by the Supreme Head of the Church, consecrated under his eyes and at his command, in the capital of the Christian world, by a Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and Regular Clergy, who represented him in this sublime function.

To the Oblate community in Billens, 24 October 1832, EO VIII n 439

Being a bishop “does not relax a single one of the bonds that bind me to our Congregation,” he wrote. In fact, the next 29 years of his life were to prove that all that he did and achieved was seen through the Oblate eyes and acted upon with the Oblate heart that had guided him since our foundation.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I think of Eugene as our Founder, most certainly as a Bishop, as the Superior General of the congregation, as a Father of an immense and world-wide family. It was his heart
    that coloured all else – his foundation, his core was Oblate. That did not end when he was made a Bishop – in fact it grew, he grew into it even more deeply because it affected and enhanced how he lived it out.

    I think of the many gifts given to me by God – AA, the Church, my parish family and yes the Oblates, most especially the Oblates and the Mazenodian Family which I belong to. They all colour who I am, but especially the latter. I think this morning of the course that I am taking – Mazenodian Spirituality. At the beginning of it I decided that I would enter into as one does a retreat. To pray and reflect with it – to taste it and chew on it, to swallow and allow to become a part of me. For it is this way of being, Mazenodian in more than just name or title, that my eyes will see and my heart will guide me, along with the members of this vast family – past and present.

    I think of all of the ‘window dressing’ in our lives! But the present, the gift… A gift is wrapped up with sparkling paper and ribbons. But as any child knows when they tear off the paper, tossing it to the side – it is what is inside that counts – the real gift. The core – 100% Oblate.

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