Responding to the needs of the most abandoned, Bishop Eugene wrote in his diary:

Circular letter to announce the establishment that I have been thinking about for a long time for female domestics.

His concern was also focused on those who were sick and were too poor to afford medical care and hospitals, thus enduring suffering and often death at home. The Sisters who took on this ministry were nurses who went to care for these sick in their homes:

I join to it the announcement of an institution for religious nurses of which there is a great need in Marseilles. I have every reason to believe thatthe two foundations will be well received.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 12 December 1840, EO XX

Both works were entrusted to the Sisters of Hope of Bordeaux, a branch of the Holy Family founded by Fr. Noailles.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I member some years ago (which now feels like a lifetime) hearing an Oblate give a retreat and commenting that Eugene was like one of the very first social workers. At the time I figured that Oblate was probably just being a little overly zealous but still the few little examples that he gave in a general way stayed with me as did his comment about early social workers. Nice folklore I thought as I packed it away; only to pull it out again last evening as a small group of us shared our reflections on the last two classes of Eugene 101; St. Eugene de Mazenod, Bishop of Marseilles.

    And here we are this morning and I feel as if I am taking part in a never-ending dance with Eugene, intricate steps following a spotlight which slowly awakens one scene after another of the heart of Eugene; we are beckoned and invited to join him in the intricate steps of his dance of life, of love. The word “oblation” comes into view – it is the spotlight which somehow begins with the light emanating from Eugene and within each of us who enter into the dance.

    Fanciful and yet real and engaging as we slowly begin to allow the creativity of our own hearts to join, follow, imitate and model our Beloved, then Eugene and with and in and through each other; becoming a part of each of the overlapping scenes and each other as we share the intimacy and joy of the dance.

    My heart thrills with joy when another catches sight of us, allowing the spotlight to highlight the new faces of those we serve. And we each make room for the other to become as one with us, with the dance of love that is never ending.

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