Shortly after his arrival at l’Osier, in 1834, Abbé Alexandre Dupuy purchased the former convent of the Augustinians adjacent to the shrine. He took possession of it on March 14 along with Father Toussaint Dassy… who obtained that the direction of the shrine should be conferred on the Oblates. By entrusting the pilgrimage to the Oblates, Bishop Philibert de Bruillard also made them responsible for the diocesan parish missions.
Now let’s turn to Notre-Dame de l’Osier which is becoming a very important establishment for us. It’s really admirable how the hand of Providence has guided the affair up to now…
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 1 May 1834, EO VIII n 480
Abbé Dupuy had already begun to restore the convent and the church. In 1837, he sold his property of Notre-Dame de l’Osier to the Oblates.
Father Guigues saw to it that the work continued. Along with his confreres, he especially developed the works: the parish, the pilgrimage, the parish missions and the novitiate.
At the time of the Oblates’ arrival pilgrims used to come in small numbers and would find the church closed. During his first visit which he made in the summer of 1835, the Founder was struck by the lack of fervour of the parishioners and the pilgrims.
In 1836, Bishop de Mazenod noted with joy the progress in the pilgrim’s devotion. Here are a few numbers that are revealing. On the feast of September 8, 1834: 20 communions, 600 in 1838 and 1000 in 1845. The number of pilgrims grew to about 15,000 a year with 25,000 in 1873,