The Constitutions and Rules of an approved group in the Church are that group’s way of expressing the Gospel according to their God-given charism. This is why they are often referred to as a “Rule of Life.” Eugene was convinced that all those who faithfully lived by the Rule, our Oblate expression of the Gospel, were in the fullness of the Kingdom of God after their deaths.

Sad anniversary of the death of our dear Father Suzanne. Yesterday, being a semi-double feast, I said a requiem mass for him. It was more to console my sorrow, and for the consolation of performing this solemn act of communion with the men who have gone before us, than with the thought that this blessed missionary, predestined in death, had any need of my prayers. I would say as much about all those I have seen die in the Congregation.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 31 January 1837, EO XVIII

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    When I go to an ‘Oblate’ graveyard, whether here at home or when I have travelled to other provinces and countries, I have this small ritual of stopping and introducing myself to the souls of those who have been buried there. I introduce myself and then I sit with them in prayer, perhaps saying my rosary or at other times just ‘being’ there with them. I thank them for being with me and ask them to pray for me before I say goodbye and take my leave.

    I don’t know why I started this practice so many years ago; it seemed so natural back then, just as it does now. This ‘act of communion’ with them, just as Eugene speaks about, is consoling for although their bodies have long died they have not; this is living in a new way. Since I was a very young child I have held on to this view of life and death with what can only be described as a ‘child-like’ trust and faith.

    I think perhaps that this is one of those gifts that God gives to each of us to help us along the way. “…we must help them to become saints” This is our ‘communion of saints’. I think this morning of a friend who has died – a dear woman who had a special goodness about her. I often thought of her as the woman who I would have loved to have as my mother. I will miss her but still just as Fr. Suzanne was with Eugene my friend Mary will be with me; she is now with all those other saints who have gone before us and I am filled with the consolation of that gift.

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