The first article of the Constitution of any group is always the one which defines the purpose and juridical nature of the group. Eugene’s first paragraph does exactly this.

The purpose of the Institute of the Missionaries of Provence

Until 1826 we were known as the Missionaries of Provence, before changing the name to Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

is first of all to form a group of priests who live together

Our vocation is always to community on the model of Jesus and the apostles.

and who strive to imitate the virtues and examples of our Savior Jesus Christ

Since Eugene’s conversion experience centered on Jesus Christ the Savior, we are brought together and our focus is on the Savior.

principally by dedicating themselves to preaching the Word of God to the poor.

1818 Rule, Part One, Chapter One. The ends of the Institute,
§1 Preaching the Word of God to the people.  Missions, 78 (1951) p.11

We imitate that particular aspect of the mission of the Savior: to preach the Gospel to those who need it the most.

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One Response to 200 YEARS AGO: WHO WE WERE

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “The purpose of the Institute of the Missionaries of Provence” – I think of how many of us, priests and laity who began with knowing a few Oblates, a few members of the Mazenodian Family, called by God – priests and brother, religious and and lay persons. A continuous unfolding of the charism, that gift of the Holy Spirit.

    “…is first of all to form a group of priests who live together” – Eugene looking at how Jesus worked, inviting men like himself, forming them, sharing what the Holy Spirit had given to him with priests and brothers -becoming religious. Eventually inviting some who God called to the married and single states – laity. I think of Jesus giving his mother to the world and his apostles to his mother, and those like Mary Magdalene, the St. Paul and Timothy. Communities and communion. “Lay people recognize that they are called to share in the charism according to their state of life, and to live it in ways that very according to milieu and cultures. They share in the charism in a spirit of communion and reciprocity amongst themselves and wit the Oblates.” (OMI CC&RR R37a)

    “…and who strive to imitate the virtues and examples of our Saviour Jesus Christ”. ‘When his eyes met mine’ and then striving always to see through the eyes of our crucified Saviour… “The cross of Jesus Christ is central to our mission… Through the eyes of our crucified Saviour we see the world which he redeemed with his blood, desiring that those in whom he continues to suffer will know also the power of his resurrection (cf. Phil 3:10) (OMI CC&RR C4)

    “…principally by dedicating themselves to preaching the Word of God to the poor.” I think of many of the apostles and disciples who preached the Gospels to those who were poor – both materially and spiritually. And it was not different after the French Revolution. The Church herself called for ‘missions’ – for ‘missionaries. Eugene called to found a congregation and share a specific charism, gift, in community. They preached the Word of God, teaching, explaining and by example – through love. I am reminded of Henri Tempier who preached by teaching others to preach and in loving service supported and nourished his brothers who were sent out. “Among the most abandoned’, ‘proclaiming the Word’, ‘with daring humility and trust’, ‘as prophets of the new world’. (OMI CC&RR – -Part One – Chapter One)

    Those first 10 Constitutions and Rules – a continuous unfolding and opening up which began 200 years ago. The joy in looking at who we were, how we began and who we are now.

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