Former Superior General, Wilhelm Steckling OMI, wrote in 2007:

“It was probably in 1807, on Good Friday of that year, that Saint Eugene had a special encounter with the Crucified One that changed his life. It essentially made him an Oblate. What we can celebrate in 2007 is not an anniversary of the Congregation, but rather an anniversary of our charism, the spiritual gift that makes us live – an anniversary of our Oblate spirituality.

It was the cross displayed on Good Friday that made young Eugene – 24 at that time – aware of his life- style apart from God.

“I had looked for happiness outside of God and outside him I found but affliction and chagrin”, he writes a few years later (1814) during a retreat. In his emptiness he encounters someone who loves him without measure. His sins melt away amidst tears in the embrace of Christ, and this experience marks him for the rest of his life. “Can I forget the bitter tears that the sight of the cross brought streaming from my eyes one Good Friday?” “Blessed, a thousand times blessed, that he, this good Father, notwithstanding my unworthiness, lavished on me all the richness of his mercy.” The experience did not stay just inside of him. “Let me at least make up for lost time by redoubling my love for him.”

After a short time, St. Eugene wanted to share the mercy he experienced with others. Such zeal for souls finally led to the birth of the Oblates. The word “Oblates” means people ready to give themselves for the love of God.”

W. Steckling OMI, OMI Information n 462, Rome, February 2007

“Jesus on the cross feels the whole weight of the evil, and with the force of God’s love he conquers it; he defeats it with his resurrection. This is the good that Jesus does for us on the throne of the cross. Christ’s cross, embraced with love, never leads to sadness, but to joy, to the joy of having been saved and of doing a little of what he did on the day of his death.”   Pope Francis

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Yesterday I listened to Fr. Mark Dean OMI’ sharing a short reflection, sharing what happens to him as he prepares to enter into contemplation/centering prayer. The distractions that he experiences. It is with one of these distractions that he enters into a new light and there is God – just waiting to offer a new insight, a new way of seeing and pondering; his experience of the Holy Spirit in those moments that are always outside of time.

    This morning I highlighted words from Wilhelm Steckling – the words that seem to jump off of the screen and into my heart. Yes, there was the quote from Eugene sharing his Good Friday experience and his response to that; but it was the words, the sharing from Fr. Steckling that touched me and led me to be here in the now.

    This morning a thought welled up from within my heart that Eugene was speaking to me – through another, through one of his sons. This is community I told myself; this is what community looks like when it is through a shared charism, a shared spirituality, through Eugene sharing his heart with each and all of us who live and become a part of this Mazenodian Community.

    This is Community! (with a big ‘C’)

    I do not know why but I find myself crying very softly, silently; this is my response when the Spirit touches me.

    As humans we have such a propensity to think that ‘community’ might mean ‘exclusivity’ for any number of reasons; but, I dare to suggest on this Monday of Holy Week that community means the looking outward – as if through the eyes of our crucified Saviour – and that changes the entire experience.

    “The word “Oblates” means people ready to give themselves for the love of God.” That looking outward from the viewpoint of Jesus, of our crucified and resurrected Saviour. This is how we journey towards Calvary – as community.

    Jesus – model to Eugene. Eugene – model to his sons and daughters. We, his sons and daughters no matter our state of life – models to each other and then facing outwards. “People ready to give ourselves for the love of God”.

    Praise be Jesus Christ and Mary Immaculate.

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