ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY NINE YEARS AGO: 21 MAY 1861

When Father Fabre wrote to the Congregation to announce the death of Eugene, he described this conversation which had taken place the day before his death:

Eugene at his death
Bishop, one of us asked him, give us some words to pass on to all our brothers. It will make them very happy!

Be sure to tell them that I die happy… that I die happy that God was so good as to choose me to found the Congregation of the Oblates in the Church.

Bishop, would you reveal to us the last wish in your heart.

Practice among yourselves charity … charity…. charity… and outside, zeal for the salvation of souls.

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One Response to ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY NINE YEARS AGO: 21 MAY 1861

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    At first I did not want to come here this morning. It is Sunday morning and there is a part of my being that wants to celebrate, something, anything, but surely not death! Perhaps I could skip ahead to June and see what is written there that might be more appealing, you know softer, easier, …. There is a strong temptation to give in and move ahead, nobody will know save myself, but I stop myself – for some reason I just know I need to be where I am even if it is in the middle of reflections on Eugene’s death.

    Thank you Lord for that small gift of insight. Just look at where I sit, to this place you have brought me to. I can almost hear Eugene’s voice; “Be sure to tell them that I die happy… that I die happy that God was so good as to choose me to found the Congregation of the Oblates in the Church.” I die happy that God… This was not something that just ‘happened’ to and with Eugene along the way. This is total and full recognition that God chose ‘him’ to very specifically found the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The utter immensity of that. Intentional, specific, this was a declaration of incredible life and love. So vivid is my state of awareness at this moment of Eugene’s “yes”, of his total oblation to God and to his family – I am at a loss for words and just want to sit with this. This is the inheritance he has left to us, to his sons, and his daughters. This is our legacy.

    I have the image of him standing before God, old, tired, and spent. But as he moves forward, into the light he grows visibly younger, radiating joy and life. “Here I am Lord, your faithful servant and dearest friend’ …. ‘here we are, for look at who I have brought with me”. And there with, beside and behind a great throng of people, his congregation, his family, all those whom he loved and inspired, all those he has invited to join him. The thought of Abraham, father to a nation comes to mind. Eugene, father to us all, bringing us home with him.

    So Lord I thank you as I start this day, I thank you for all that you give to me, especially for all those who have gone before me, those mighty saints like Eugene who show us a way of living, a way of being. I would have thought that I would feel more subdued but now find myself aflame with love and a sense of purpose. Moving out of gratitude for all that you give. To be a part of such a legacy is more than I would have dared dream of. I dare to dream that I shall die like Eugene when my time comes, not in the knowledge that I have founded a dynasty, but rather with the knowledge that I have done your will, knowingly and intentionally.

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