At a moment in his youth when Eugene felt “most deprived” of a direction in his life, he understood that it was in the direction of the Cross that his solution would come. Understanding the love of Jesus Christ the Savior for him, everything changed and he was no longer “deprived.” With the joyful acceptance of a fixed direction in his life, he became painfully aware of the many who were “deprived” of any enduring meaning in their lives. His early ministry as a young priest was a response. He dedicated his life to helping the “most deprived” to come to his same transforming realization.

In 1816 he was inspired to invite others to join him in a life of making a difference to the lives of these persons. Now in 1818, he codified this commitment in the Rule. Its first two articles showed the direction of the initial response of the Missionaries to those most deprived of spiritual things in Provence:

Article 2. That is why the members of this Congregation will work under the authority of the Ordinaries on whom they will always depend, by providing spiritual aid to the poor people in the rural areas and to the inhabitants of the country villages who are the most deprived of spiritual things. They will provide for those needs through missions, the teaching of catechism, retreats, or other spiritual exercises.

1818 Rule, Part One, Chapter One. The ends of the Institute,
§1 Preaching the Word of God to the people

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    My thoughts are scattered today as I read Article 2 over and over again. I keep returning to the word “Ordinaries” – Eugene stating that they would work under the authority of the Ordinaries on whom they will always depend – he did not add any riders or clauses to that – he went on only to say how they would work. He held back nothing, just as Jesus his Saviour held back nothing. His formula for Oblation expressed in the 1818 Rule. Those he was sent to serve were the poor – not just the monetary poor, but more importantly those “deprived of spiritual things”.

    It is “All Souls” Day today. Today we will bury Fr. Hugh James MacDonald OMI, and then later we will have a small prayer service reflecting on the current OMI Constitutions and Rules, remembering what began in 1818, in prayer, Oraison and then celebrating with dinner. We will work through the ordinary of the day with our jobs, our studies, and our responsibilities of the moment. I think for a moment of how Eugene and his community got up at 3 in the morning on November 1st and spent time together in the Chapel before Eugene and then the others formalized their Oblation.

    It all looks so busy, so small and inconsequential and yet this is how we will serve under the authority of the ‘Ordinaries’ on whom we will always depend. Today we too join him and the others throughout the world as we go about preaching the Word of God to those people who are most deprived.

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