As he launched the new Oblate mission at Lumières, Eugene was exultant as he considered God’s goodness to the Missionary Oblates: ten missionary foundations in 20 years, all communities from which to go out and preach the Good News of Jesus Christ the Savior.
Here we are in an earthly paradise. Nothing is so beautiful as the church that is built on the miraculous shrine of the Blessed Virgin. It is incomparably the best we have… I do not know of any other Society which in our time has been favoured in a similar manner, and it is with a handful of men that these things are done in times that are bad.
Letter to Casimir Aubert, 3 June 1837, EO IX n 622
He described in his Journal the prayer of taking possession of the shrine and how this fulfilled the task that the Pope had charged the Missionaries with in 1826.
This house, that I was placing at this moment specially under the protection of our sovereign Master and Saviour, was already the tenth foundation of our Congregation. It was again by a wonderful disposition of God’s goodness towards us the third famous shrine of the Blessed Virgin that we were charged with restoring, serving, maintaining using every temporal and moral resource at our disposition so as to restore to honour the veneration of our holy Mother and propagate her devotion in conformity with the ends of our institute.
After recalling the words of the Pope in approving the Missionary Oblates in 1826, Eugene continued:
The Saviour our head it is who confided these shrines to us and placed us there as in a fortress from whence our missionaries are to go out into the various dioceses to preach repentance and gather in those wonderful fruits of conversion that are the subject of our constant wonder and the edification of all who come to know them.
Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 2 June 1837, EO XVIII