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,

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Small moments of wonder.

    I am struck with the notion of the “Mazenodian Family” and how blessed we are to have been born and to live in these times – just look at how God provides for us. I am reminded of the words from Zachariah’s Canticle: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, he has come to his people and set them free […] In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

    Every so often I find myself passing by an art gallery and in the window of this gallery there is a magnificent picture of a person and the image of the person is made up of hundreds of small pictures of different persons who might not have any connection other than that of the artist who put them all together to form the bigger picture on display.

    The “hand of Providence” must look and work like this – for just like the picture made up of many smaller pictures God leads us to be members of families – all being touched by other families and their members, all creating a bigger and more magnificent whole.

    This is how our God leads us. Moments of wonder.

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