On the patronal feast of September 8, as in the past, the shrine of Notre Dame de l’Osier witnessed a great affluence of visitors, attracted, according to the codex of September 8 of 1834 and 1835, less by devotion to Mary than by the liveliness of the dancing, the hubbub of the merchants or again the good food at the inns.

The following year, the Founder wrote to Father Guigues:

Remember that Providence has put you at the service of this shrine so as to give better guidance to people’s devotion. I pray that their devotion to the Holy Virgin will bring them to conversion through your ministry.

Letter to Bruno Guigues, 3 September 1835, EO 8 n 541

In 1836, Bishop de Mazenod noted with joy the progress in the pilgrim’s devotion. Every Saturday one of the priests gave an instruction to teach the faithful how to make their pilgrimage holy. The presence of the priests, getting to know them through parish missions, the solemnity with which the month of May and the feasts of the Blessed Virgin were celebrated contributed little by little to attracting pilgrims and creating an atmosphere of prayer around the shrine. From 1837 on, the priests saw to it that the great feast of September 8 was preceded by an eight day retreat.


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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    It would seem that Eugene and his ever-growing family of Oblates were becoming adept at making use of what was already there and in place as a base to grow on.

    I think of Eugene’s 1813 Lenten Homily when he spoke of how the world saw the poor and then invited them to look and discover who they were in the eyes of God: “You are God’s children, the brothers of Jesus Christ, heirs to his eternal kingdom, chosen portion of his inheritance; you are, in the words of St. Peter, a holy nation, you are kings, you are priests, you are in some way gods. Let your eyes see for once beneath the rags that cover you, there is within you an immortal soul made in the image of God whom it is destined to possess one day, a soul ransomed at the price of the blood of Jesus Christ, more precious in the eyes of God than all earth’s riches.”

    As a little girl growing up in the midst of violence and darkness I used to beg God to put some good in me so that I might be loved – first by God and so then by others. The good was already there – it needed only to be uncovered, brought into the light and then nourished (evangelized).

    The Oblates at Notre Dame de l’Osier did no less – taking what was there and nourishing it with the light of God. Just as the poor of 1813, the people who came to Notre Dame de L’Osier and the little girl more than 100 years later were brought into the light; members of the Mazenodian Family are evangelizing, using what is already there.

    This blog, this sharing of the charism and spirituality of Eugene and those first Oblates is our invitation to look beneath the rags we wear in the struggles and joys that are the ordinary of our daily lives and to evangelize others as we ourselves are being evangelized.

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