In 1841 God began to write a new page in the history of the Mazenodian Family with the arrival of some heaven-sent visitors to Marseilles. Eugene wrote in his diary:

The Bishop of Montreal in Canada, passing through Marseilles a while ago on his way to Rome, talked to me about the needs of his diocese. He insisted that I give him at least four missionaries from our Congregation, whom he would charge with evangelizing his people and if need be they could extend their zeal to the indigenous people who live in these regions.

At the same time:

This project leads me to recall one like it that we continue by way of trial since Providence seems to have indicated it by bringing together certain circumstances that deserve our attention.

It is known that we have in the Congregation an excellent native Irish Father who came to us as if falling from the sky…


Meanwhile a young man full of candor appeared one day at the Calvaire  [ed. OMI Shrine in Marseilles], I not know for what reason… From one thing to the other he made it known that he left Ireland to become a missionary.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 15 and 16 July 1841, EO XX

In 1830 Eugene had written about his desire for the foreign missions:

The Lord will manifest his will to us when it pleases him

Letter to Henri Tempier, 26 July 1830, EO VII n 349

There is no doubt that God certainly did so unmistakably in 1841!

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    How is it that something which happened 2000 years ago, or even 200 years ago can be so relevant today?

    My night was filled with a dream which had a long-running theme – sort of like the soap-operas that my mother used to watch on TV many years ago. At the end of each adventure that was strangely mixed with anxiety and the stresses of life (which in my dream I never quite seemed able to focus on) I would return to see a young man, who I seemed to recognize – holding out a piece of paper to me. And in my dream I knew the message and it’s meaning for it never changed. I would awaken then roll over and resume my rosary that I was holding; quickly fall asleep and resume my dreaming. My memory of it was that it happened a few times until my alarm woke me and I lay in the dark with my eyes open thinking about it and realizing that single sheet of paper was a copy of my Rule of Life. This was the centre of my life and it was the Mazenodian charism as shared with me and in that thought was a glimpse of the plan that God has for me.

    With that I arose and came here to be in this place, my being filled with a new strength of purpose as I sat and read how “God begins to write a new page in our history” of the Mazenodian Family. This was I thought, the story of the beginning of the birth of our inheritance here in Canada.

    Here in our Province of OMI Lacombe, we have entered into a process entitled “Forward Together: Listening for the Spirit”. We do it in a new way with the aid of technology; for the time being we are unable to convene and meet together in one place. New ways of responding to God’s call both personally and communally. The invitations this morning and those of the past month look similar to those as described by Eugene’s writing in his diary.

    “The lord will manifest his will to us when it pleases him.” We need only be ready to listen.

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