Community is an integral part of Oblate mission. The group of missionaries who went to a village always formed a community that was governed by the same regulations and spirit as the permanent community they formed a part of. During the weeks of the mission they maintained a regularity of community life in praying together, eating together, working together and then in holding a formal weekly community meeting.
On Saturdays the afternoons were spent together in community so as to be able to help each other to focus more clearly on the quality of their “being” so as to be more effective in their “doing” as the Saviour’s co-operators. The Preface speaks of the aim of this type of activity:
They must constantly renew themselves in the spirit of their vocation.
1818 Rule Chapter One, §3.
It is a sentiment I find echoed in the words of Mahatma Gandhi when he says, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Every Saturday, the mission exercises, except the morning ones, will be cancelled. That day will be set aside especially for the community meeting, which will take place in the superior’s quarters. All the missionaries must be present, and no one else may be admitted.
This meeting will begin with the reading of this regulation, which each superior will have in his possession. Then, the missionaries will accuse themselves of their faults…
Having focused on personal growth, the focus moved onto the practical aspects of the mission itself:
The superior will reform any abuses that may have been introduced, correct those deserving to be reproved, and will assign the activities for the coming week. He will take the occasion of this meeting to consult the missionaries on those points that he judges fitting to present to them. By common agreement they will resolve the more difficult cases of conscience met since the last meeting. The superior will take note of all the opinions and draw practical conclusions”
1818 Rule Chapter Two