Initially the Missionaries had been founded as a society of priests to evangelize though preaching and sacraments. Two years later, when we became religious with vows, the element of religious life became an essential component of our vocation. This opened the door to men who wanted Oblate religious life without being priests. It was a problem for some of the priests whose focus was on clerical ministry which the brothers were unable to do. So why have them? Other Oblate priests were tempted to regard the brothers as domestic servants.

At one time didn’t you mention a candidate for the brothers? I passed on the news to the novitiate. I have sent Brother Ferrand to Corsica. That leaves us only Brother Roux. They are a rare breed but vital, and when they come to us it is important to give them a good formation.

Letter to Bruno Guigues, 3 May 1835, EO VIII n 514

So far I have only been able to send to Ajaccio Guibert, Telmon and Brother Ferrand, without whom Guibert tells me he wouldn’t have been able to open his seminary, so useful is he to them. Let’s have no more debate about the good brothers after that! So I’m going to admit Brother Roux to his final oblation. It’s up to the rest of you to come up with some more.

Letter to Bruno Guigues, 27 May 1835, EO VIII n 516

I refer you to “Our Founding Vision Today: All are Brothers, some are Priests” http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=3155

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Who belongs? Who doesn’t?

    I recently was able to take part in an Indigenous Pastoral Leadership course: I was welcomed into their circle and they shared their different roles in life with me; their practices, their ways of praying to the Creator. I learned much and at the end of the course I walked away feeling like great treasures had been given and shared with me; and I began to incorporate those as I could into my own life – as I live in the Church and in and with and through the Mazenodian Family.

    The Mazenodian Family opens the door to many, sharing with all their Rule of Life as it is applicable – it becomes a model for so many of us. We are formed – not exactly the same for we are not religious and most of us are not priests or brothers. The Charism though, the Spirituality are shared with us all; we are given formation in the areas which we are called to live and be and so that we too might go out and “lead men and women to act like human beings, first of all, and then like Christians, and, finally, we must help them to become saints.” It is the first 10 Constitutions and Rules that we share so deeply with each other.

    I look at what and how Pope Francis is leading our Church. He is not so concerned about the wording of the law as he is about the changing of the heart. This has been my experience too of the congregation – of the Oblates with regard to all of us. The wording is changing slowly – so much so that now we openly and quite matter-of-factly speak about “Oblate hearts” and members of the “Mazenodian Family”.

    Eugene de Mazenod invited the ‘Brothers’ to join them, to stand at the foot of their crucifix as they listened to his invitation to join him. And now he does the same with
    many of us who are not religious but whose desire is to live out those 1st 10 Constitutions and Rules and many of the others – as God calls us. The wording will come, but first the heart must lead. Each of us as we are called find the place where we belong.

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