We have had to bring immediate relief to the most urgent cases. In some parishes, like La Major and St. Laurent, the clergy were at the end of their tether. I have given two Missionaries to St. Laurent. Calvaire is doing more in the line of service than a parish; the people like to come to the Missionaries in their need.

Letter to Casimir Aubert, 10 March 1835, EO VIII n 508

The Missionaries referred to are the Oblates who were sent immediately to the aid of those in need in the diocesan parishes because the local clergy was not coping.

Father Mille immediately offered to undertake the three-day journey from Notre Dame du Laus to be of assistance. Father Tempier responded in the name of Eugene:

The Bishop was totally confident of your spirit of devotedness and so he was not surprised at your request to come and care for the cholera victims. This time, however, you will gain the merit only of your good intentions: we can handle everything nicely. Do your work in the locality where you are and where the disease could very well pay you a visit: it adapts itself to every climate.

Letter of Henri Tempier to Jean Baptiste Mille, 16 March 1832, EO2 n 69

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I remember learning from Madonna House to “do little things exceedingly well”.

    I think of some of the Oblates who joined the congregation to be ‘real’ missionaries; and when they spoke of one of their brothers who had indeed been sent to a foreign land they reminded all within their hearing that these men who were sent to other parts of the world were truly the ‘real’ missionaries.

    Who among us does not want to do great things for God? After all we have been called by God and are sent. We are deeply in love with God and our hearts are filled with fire and passion to live and do great things for Him. Oh yes – and of course to ‘be’. That last part sounds so ‘ordinary’, so little.

    And yet I somehow wonder if that last part of ‘being’ is not exactly what God might have in mind for so many of us.

    I think of those who are in Poland, taking part in the 2nd half of the Inter-Chapter in whatever way they have been called, invited. They are now looking forward – towards what is still needed, to where the Spirit is leading us, just as each of us must do in our hearts, in our obedience.

    It is in this way that the people like to come to us, just as we come to each other. I look at Henri Tempier who wrote to Mille on behalf of Eugene and I remember his response to Eugene’s first letter inviting him to join with a few others and be missionaries.

    I am reminded of Mary, our mother and patroness and her response:

    “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
    And my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
    For he has looked with mercy on my lowliness.
    From this day all generations will call me blessed.
    For the mighty God has done great things for me,
    And holy is his name.” (Luke 1)

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