THEY BURN WITH THE DESIRE TO BE WORTHY TO BE ADMITTED TO THE NOVITIATE WHEN THEY FINISH THEIR CLASSES.

Writing to Fr Mille about the death of an Oblate, Eugene noted the need to replace them with new candidates:

Heaven is filling up with our men. If it is consoling to see all those who have been taken from us die as men predestined, it is impossible not to be saddened at seeing our ranks thin out, without anyone coming forward to replace those who have gone to take possession of glory, since it is the reward promised those who persevere to the end.

To fill the ranks, Eugene had just opened the first Oblate juniorate. As this was the beginning of a long process of discernment and formation, Eugene reflected to the young Mille:

The little colony of Lumières is a source of hope, but it will have to live longer than I can count on to enjoy results of a good initiative that is so strong in its seedling state. You are still young enough to see the ear of corn forming, coming to maturity and you will gather it in jubilation; as for me it seems that I am destined only to sow in tears. If that be God’s will, I accept it.

Letter to Jean Baptiste Mille, 16 April 1841, EO IX n 728

In his personal diary, Eugene wrote about this venture that today we call a pre-novitiate which was started

to receive the students that we have decided to admit to provide subjects for our novitiate which is completely depopulated. The trial that we did this year is encouraging. All the young people in this house of studies are animated with a good spirit. They burn with the desire to be worthy to beadmitted to the novitiate when they finish their classes.

To provide for their instruction, we brought our Oblates [ed. scholastics] to this house, those who have finished their theology as well as those whoare still taking courses. While studying themselves, they will make others work and their good example will strengthen them in their vocation. Those of our Fathers who have visited the house were delighted. Let us pray God to spread more and more of his heavenly blessing upon it.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 12 May 1841, EO XVIII

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1 Response to THEY BURN WITH THE DESIRE TO BE WORTHY TO BE ADMITTED TO THE NOVITIATE WHEN THEY FINISH THEIR CLASSES.

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    How important it is to see a religious congregation as a different, yet possible as a natural way of life.

    I think of the times when meeting an Oblate I would ask how they came to join the Oblates. Some said they wanted to travel, while others wanted an education; the reasons were many and varied. Eugene himself as a young man, unable to find a suitable wife, to get a visa to return to Italy and unable to receive a posting as an officer with the military… what was left for him? Like many religious he grew into his vocation if I can word it that way. Eugene was daring listened to where he felt God was calling him to be. He persevered and grew more deeply into a special way of being.

    Returning after a long absence to the Church I was hungry for a life with her and with God. I met a beautiful community of people who taught me how to both receive and give love; their spirituality was deep and rich. Alas I knew (as did they) that God was not calling me to that life. So I waited, living as well as I could until one day a friend who worked for the Oblates told me about a small group of people who met with the Oblates and whose spirituality… well she felt it would be a good fit for me.

    In getting to know the Oblates and their spirituality I felt called to somehow join them a a single lay woman. Today that community is known as Oblate Associates. I got to know them and learn more deeply about their spirituality, eventually feeling called to make a commitment to this particular way of life; all because I dared to take part in something that God seemed to be calling me to. I am reminded of the words from a song from the “King and I”; “…getting to know you, getting to know all about you, getting to like you, getting to hope you like me…”

    Eugene made things happen. He didn’t wait for the world to change but rather he listened to the Spirit and found ways to change and help make the world what it is today.

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