200 YEARS AGO: PREPARATIONS

After Eugene had been at St Laurent, and written the Rule, he and his companions traveled back to Aix via the shrine at Laus that they were about to take over. The description of the journey by Eugene’s uncle Fortuné gives us an idea of the circumstances.

Leflon, using the letters of Fortuné de Mazenod, takes up the story of the return to Aix from Laus:

Finally, on September 24, a visit was made to Laus. The return journey began the following day, and its slowness greatly contrasted with the quick dispatch of the previous trip. Out of a spirit of poverty, fifty-five of the seventy-five miles between Laus and Aix were made on foot over impossible roads. Consequently, it was not until September 30 that the three voyagers reached Aix.

The Founder evidently had more endurance than Moreau and Tempier who arrived exhausted, since, instead of taking time out to rest, he immediately plunged into work. “I haven’t been able to talk privately with him, even for a few moments,” wrote Fortune to President de Mazenod. “From the moment he arrived, his time was monopolized by all the usual petty matters until it was time to retire.” The next day was taken up continuously with hearing the confessions of the novices and members of the Sodality.

Leflon II, p. 165-166

Undoubtedly a good part of the conversation would have been on how to present the newly-written Rule on introducing religious life and vows to the rest of the Missionaries. It is interesting that at the General Chapter a few weeks later, we shall see that these three were the only ones initially in favor of the change of status.

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One Response to 200 YEARS AGO: PREPARATIONS

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I am sure that Tempier and Moreau did not just sit idly by watching and listening as Eugene sat writing alone with his thoughts – always for Eugene there would be the idea of community. Talking with, discussing, sharing, writing – we can only imagine the energy in the room as they came together – with the Holy Spirit. The sharing, questioning, excitement and energies that must have filled the air as the four of them worked together. This was a part of their preparation. And Eugene – well he had always been a high energy person. I think of the statue of him that can be found in the chapel at the General House in Rome (and the one in Klokoty) – him striding forward – full of life – the cross in his raised hand – Tempier and Moreau perhaps trying to keep pace with him. They would need the time to recover when they returned to Aix – but for Eugene he had first to take care of the daily tasks and responsibilities, be there to nourish his first companions and the novices.

    It would take time for some members of the community to accept the new changes coming – changes to their status, of entering into religious life and making solid and solemn vows. They would need time to absorb and to let go of what had become comfortable within themselves. I think of the movie “of Gods and Men” – how the superior had stated a position and how they all had to have time to pray and discern, to let go of more of their very selves before being able to come together – those were their preparations. I think of the apostles and disciples with Jesus – their preparations and having to let go in order to be able to be with Jesus crucified and then resurrected and then later more preparations to be able to let him go so that they could receive his Spirit. And still life would go on for them.

    I must admit that it is scary this preparing. Here this morning as I think of the Apostles and Jesus I am not sure that I am comfortable with that – there is an implicit understanding within me that something within me is changing and while there is joy as my eyes meet those of my Beloved there is a little fear of what might lie ahead. I will not cower or step back because of it – my ongoing preparation demands that I acknowledge it as I continue to put one foot in front of the other.

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