Eugene recalls the second mission which the Oblates had ever preached , in Fuveau in September 1816 (See https://www.omiworld.org/lemma/suzanne-marius/ ) at which the young Marius Suzanne was present. He immediately understood the Oblate charism and wanted to participate in it in every way possible.

This man was one of the first fruits of our missions. He joined us during the one we were giving in Fuveau, where his family had their home, for he was born in Aix. Those who write his life will say that in a certain way he did his apprenticeship during that mission. The zeal that this dear child, then 16 or 17 years old, employed in the search for sinners who had the most need of our ministry, his assiduous attendance at all our exercises, his eagerness to approach us whose really excessive workload he wanted to lighten, no doubt earned him the grace of his vocation.
From that time, I was his confessor and since, his trust equalled the tenderness he inspired in me: neither the one nor the other are forgotten. However, he did not speak with me then about the plan the Lord was inspiring him with, and I for my part said nothing to him about the desire I had that he join us in our work. It was not long before his attraction made him want to come and live in our house; at that time, we had only the one in Aix. He spent some time there still without saying anything about his ulterior aims.
Finally, on the day we went for the Puget mission, [ed January 1818] near Fréjus, he opened his heart to me and, hugging me, he said: I am yours for always.
Who could have guessed at that time that I was destined to close his eyes in death! I think he was only eighteen years old. He spent fifteen years in the Congregation, Our Annales will say that he put them to very good use! May his memory always be held blessed among us, for he has truly earned the gratitude of the Church and the Congregation. And his death in our bosom was that of the just.

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

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Words leap out from the screen: “…immediately understood the Oblate charism” […] “this man was one of the first fruits of our missions” […] “I am yours for always”.

    I think for a moment of our models in life, the models of each of us in the Mazenodian Family and I am reminded of the Last Supper – the beloved who laid his head on the shoulder of Jesus.

    Not just some pious or holy words but real, lived, given life from our deepest and most secret desires. Beaudoin himself called Suzanne one Eugene’s first disciples and Eugene wrote of him being one of the first fruits of their missions.

    But most telling and meaningful were Marius Suzanne’s words to Eugene de Mazenod – “I am yours for always” – they standout and take up residence in my heart.

    We do not always give words as to how our hearts respond so lavishly to the charism that is shared with us and I think perhaps this is what our way of missioning is to be about.

    My own introduction to this beautiful charism was not lukewarm in any way for I shared with an Oblate that God had given the Oblates to me as a gift and that God had also given me to the Oblates as a gift. I had no idea of what my journey to live that would look like – but to quote a friend this was just the beginning of an adventure of my life. Today the journey continues with an ongoing and ever growing passion. The gift of the Oblate Studies Program has been has been both a period of formation and a period of taking it all into my heart so that I can live and share it deeply, fully and wildly.

    To be able to share this with others…

    Here this morning we are invited to look within ourselves and to recognize how in our own lives we respond to the benediction of our crucified Saviour, our Church, our congregation and family; how our own beings respond with “I love you always.”

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