Eugene noted with sadness in his Diary:

Letter of Fr. Courtès informing me of the sudden death of the esteemed Madame de Bausset, friend and distinguished benefactress of the Mission. I immediately wrote to all our houses so that every priest say a Mass for the repose of her soul, that every oblate novice and brother make five communions for the same intention, and that the indulgences, good works, etc., be especially applied to her for eight days, regardless of the rights that she has forever to all the merits of the Congregation…

We are conscious that this charitable Christian and good friend provided 600 francs per year, over a period of ten years, for the education and the living expenses of our Fathers. God should already have rewarded this holy soul, but it is the duty of the Congregation to maintain an eternal obligation to her. As for me, I miss her loss with the pain that I cannot prevent myself from feeling when such dear and precious friends are taken away from me; … The good Madame de Bausset will have a place in my prayer of remembrance of the dead every day of my life, and I would never know how to run dry on the praise of her virtues and her good qualities.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 7 February1838, EO XIX

Jesus, too, was accompanied in his evangelization by his disciples and supporters, and Paul refers to this when he speaks of serving as different parts of one body (I Corinthians 12)

Luke 8, 1-3 “Soon afterwards Jesus went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Yesterday I was tested for COVID; with the churches opening up once again I want to take the Eucharist to others who will be unable to return to the churches for any number of reasons. I need to be sure that I will not putting others at risk by entering into their homes.

    There was a small risk that the health workers would find some infinitesimal amount of the virus in my system; but I needed to take the risk.

    My experience was of people whose voices were gentle as they said Hello/Bonjour. They were all garbed in protective clothing with masks and hair coverings, gowns and gloves. There were a few questions to be asked, new masks to be donned, sanitization of our hands, over and over again. The procedure itself was uncomfortable for a moment or two.

    The nurses and doctors, those who sanitized the chairs that we got up from sitting on, or the walls of the room where we stood; their eyes smiled as they met mine, they were patient, gentle, kind and compassionate. They were like this with every person who went through that testing station yesterday and the day before and the day before that. And they will return again today to start all over again.

    We were all treated the same; no one was greater or lesser than another.

    I look at the many hands in the picture and hear Eugene’s words: “…the rights that she has forever to all the merits of the Congregation” and then a little bit later “…the duty of the Congregation to maintain an eternal obligation to her”. For Eugene the congregation was his family, all those he loved.

    Last night the news spoke of the ‘pandemic of racism’. How do we fight it? How do we respond when we are aware of it? How do we treat each other in the smallest of ways, every day?

    Perhaps with the same patience, gentleness, kindness and compassion that we witness day in and day out with those who minister in so many roles to combat the coronavirus.

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