Eugene’s primary work as a young priest had been his youth ministry with the almost 300-strong youth congregation he had started and nurtured in Aix en Provence. (See “MY BEAUTIFUL CHRISTIAN YOUTH CONGREGATION” at http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=1228 )

Many of them kept on contact with him over the years. Here he refers to one of them, Melchior Bremond, who had been a member of the Youth Congregation from 1814 to 1819:

Letter from M. Bremond, notary in Aix. He writes me the kindest things on the pains I took to safeguard his youth, congratulating himself on his subsequent happy experience.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 18 January 1837, EO XVIII

Twenty-six years after the foundation of the Youth Congregation Eugene recalled the beginning and successes of this venture:

I therefore answered the Bishop of Metz that my sole ambition was to dedicate myself to the service of the poor and the youth. I made my first debut in the jails, and my training consisted in surrounding myself with young people whom I instructed. I trained a good number of them in virtue. I saw some 280 of them gathered around me, and those who today still remain faithful to the principles that I had the happiness of instilling in their souls and who do honour to their faith in every rank of society or in the sanctuary, will uphold for a long time, either in Aix or in the other places where they are dispersed, the reputation that this congregation had rightly acquired for itself while I was able to care for it.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 31 March 1839, EO XX

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1 Response to A SUCCESS STORY

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I have myself witnessed the success stories of many of the Oblates – with the youth of our world. There is much work done with the youth but I focus on those we call the ‘Oblate Youth’ – they give witness in a very particular way to the Charism that Eugene invites us to share in – they who are the youngest members of our Mazenodian Family. Not so very different in many ways from those in Eugene’s time who carried with them the gift of the founding charism throughout their lives – living it like Melchior Bremond “according to their state of life, and [living] it in ways that vary according to milieu and cultures.” (R 37a)

    I recognize what a gift it is to Eugene to correspond with and be an ongoing part of the lives of those young people who he touched so deeply. It was just as important for Eugene to be able to know how he had touched them as it was for the young people to never forget what Eugene meant to them throughout their life. It can be so easy to forget to let those who have given us so much – we forget to make sure they are allowed to see the fruits of their labours (a different kind of harvest but still – the fruits of their work).

    I think of a couple of people who I invited to come and join our Associate group (none of us in our youth), some of them who I was blessed to be able to take part in their ‘formation’ at the time and even how it is ongoing – the immensity of that gift in seeing how I played a small part of their coming together as part of our Mazenodian Family.

    There is a particular joy in being able to see the part that we have played in the lives of others. I look at Eugene again and realise that we each have a part to play in the lives of all those we touch; so just as we find our own sanctification in that of others – so it is with joy and the gift of love. That’s the ‘success’ story!

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