A second person, sent by God to open the way to Oblate evangelization across the English Channel was John Naughten, who had entered the novitiate in France the year before. It was a “chance encounter” engineered by God. 

Meanwhile a young man full of candor appeared one day at the Calvaire, I not know for what reason. His place was already reserved to leave for Rome the next day.

Fr. Aubert entered the sacristy by chance when the young man asked in Latin for what he was looking for. Fr. Aubertunderstood by his accent that he was English. He spoke to him in that language; the young man delighted to find someonewho understood him explained himself to the Father. From one thing to the other he made it known that he left Ireland to become a missionary. The opportunity was there to fulfill his wish because he was in a house of missionaries and he hadjust unknowingly spoken with the superior.

Nothing more was needed to decide the young man. He asked to be admitted, we cancelled his reservation, he entered thecommunity and Bro. Daly, who was sent to explain things better to him, saw in this a new sign of God’s will to continuehis work. It turns out that this young man is an angel, he has already done half of his novitiate to the edification of all who see him up close, and he gives us the greatest hopes. This young man’s name is Naughten, and he is from the region of the famous O’Connell.

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

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I do not really believe in coincidence or explaining everything away as luck or karma. Maybe it’s just that I want to believe in something more than chance or that which is caused by my own actions. My very life is proof of the intentionality of God; I do not believe that the cross of Jesus just happened or that his death was in any way empty.

    Today I am reminded of that in meeting John Naughton, in 1841 – the year that the Oblates were sent to Canada and to the UK. New beginnings for the Oblate community. Perhaps it is all in how we view events in our lives. Eugene found himself looking through the eyes of our crucified Saviour at all of life as a result of his Good Friday experience of Jesus on the cross. If I, if we, allow ourselves to become distracted from our very foundations we run the risk of actually missing encounters with God in the ordinary events of our lives.

    It is from St Eugene that many of us in the Mazenodian Family learn or are reminded of this new way of seeing, in the light of the Good News. I think of how Eugene himself met Jesus on the cross and how he allowed that to change him.

    “I am a part of all that I have met;
    Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
    Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
    For ever and forever when I move.”

    These words from Tennyson’s poem Ulysses express how Eugene, and each of us move forward; finding in God the invitation to a new way of living, and more… the courage to dare and follow each new path that opens before us.

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