200 YEARS AGO: A SMALL STEP FOR EUGENE, A GIANT LEAP FOR THE MISSIONARIES

Completing the writing of the Rule, Eugene left St Laurent for Digne, where Brother Moreau was ordained to the priesthood. In the meantime Henri Tempier had come to Digne to join Eugene and the Bishop to negotiate the transfer of the shrine of Notre Dame du Laus to the Missionaries. Eugene, Tempier and Moreau then went to the Shrine and were able to announce:

We have formed an establishment at Notre Dame du Laus thus bringing ourselves into direct relations with the dioceses of Gap, Digne, Embrun and Sisteron.

Letter to Pierre Mie, October 1818, O.W. VI n.31

This first step of expanding out of Aix signaled a major shift for the Missionaries and was the opening of a door to the “giant leap” that was to bring Eugene’s missionary family to more than 60 countries.

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One Response to 200 YEARS AGO: A SMALL STEP FOR EUGENE, A GIANT LEAP FOR THE MISSIONARIES

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    This was a ‘giant leap of faith’ for the Missionaries. A new way for them to evangelize each other and those they were sent to in their missions. Notre Dame du Laus – a new way of evangelizing – to those who would come to them in the summer months, and those to whom they would go out to in the winter. Their horizons were growing even as they walked towards them. The Rule of Life that Eugene had written – an expression of his spirit, of their growing spirits combined would be the framework, the heart’s core that would keep them united. For all of them there would be great ‘leaps of faith’; courage was demanded every bit as much as fidelity to the Rule; fidelity, trust, daring, immense hope and love. There had to be fear there – little niggles of it that hid behind the bubbles of excitement and the challenges that they would face. As I look the image, the word that comes to mind is Evangelization.

    I think of my friend who has returned to town here for his ongoing formation – what he has had to ‘let-go-of’ and where he will find his next steps leading him. Joy in God and fear of the challenges ahead. I think of the students at St. Paul U and even closer of those who are a part of the courses I am taking – we are being evangelized and helping to evangelize each other – the heady excitement and the daunting challenge. Small steps indeed for our teachers and mentors, for our guides and friends who journey with us; steps that will at times will feel like impossible leaps.

    I sit here this morning looking at the steps ahead of me. The words running through me “Be not afraid, I go before you always. Come follow me and I will give you rest.” I look at what Eugene started 200 years ago. The giant leaps that he and his founding community took and then shared with us; small steps that would grow into giant leaps in our lives. The Rule of Life which had its birth 200 years ago continues to form and shape us.

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