OBLATE BISHOPS MUST HAVE THE CONGREGATIONAL CREST IN THEIR COAT OF ARMS

When ordained as Bishop of Icosia, the political climate had made Eugene cautious not to draw too much attention to his being an Oblate of Mary Immaculate. Now, as bishop of a diocese he had to design a coat of arms – and one quarter would be the Oblate crest.

I was deterred for the same reasons from asserting this title which is so dear to me in this sense that it expresses my title of being a member even more than being head of a holy family approved and constituted in God’s Church, at the time of my election to the title of Bishop of Icosia.
As a consolation for this reticence, forced on me in the circumstances, I will have my coat of arms quartered with those adopted by the Congregation, and this must always be the practice in the Congregation when someone is called canonically to shoulder so heavy a burden.

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

He wished that every Oblate, appointed bishop, would do the same.

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One Response to OBLATE BISHOPS MUST HAVE THE CONGREGATIONAL CREST IN THEIR COAT OF ARMS

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Sometimes it is easy to forget or ignore the burden carried by St. Eugene and our bishops; not just ‘back then’ but in the here and now. And perhaps it is no different with the burdens carried by our priests and nuns; by our teachers, parents and our many brothers and sisters, those we journey with…

    The word “vocation” comes to mind this morning. Vocation – meaning our life’s work but so much more for it carries with it not just the ‘doing’ but also the being – the attitudes and spirit which we carry with us. The spirit of not only being called, but of our response and acceptance as we are sent.

    Our vocation, our calling, our mission…

    Until this morning I have thought about a coat of arms as being something that is carried into war announcing who we are and who we fight for. But as I sit here with Eugene I wonder if it is something that gives an image of more than the burden of our call from God and our response to that call; I wonder if it doesn’t also become an expression of that joy that is intimately entwined with the burden of our individual calls and who we are becoming in living out the call.

    I stop and wonder what it would look like if I were asked to sit down to design a crest or a coat of arms for myself; to design something that expressed my ‘being’ as well as my ‘doing’.

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