Eugene reflected in a letter to Father Vincens about the providential call to the Missionary Oblate Congregation:

Here is a vast field that is opening up to her zeal. Canada is calling for her ministry, how do we respond to this appeal when there are no members.

Nevertheless I have consulted the whole Congregation to find out as to what I should reply to his Lordship the Bishop of Montreal who is asking me for four missionaries to evangelize his vast diocese and work for the conversion of the indigenous who have established contact with him.

Letter to Joseph Vincens, 17 July 1841, EO IX n 734

Eugene asked each Oblate two questions: 1/ should we accept this mission in Canada, and 2/ would you be willing to go there as a missionary?

Yvon Beaudoin writes about this in a footnote to this letter:

We still possess an enthusiastic reply of Father Dassy who was ready to leave with Father Vincens: “I don’t see… that we have to make great sacrifices for this mission: the trip, the climate, change of country, separation from the family, all these things are not great things in my view. Say one word and for me France will be Canada, my parents, brothers and friends will be in Canada; my heart will fly to Canada and this country which makes our hearts throb at this moment, this country, if necessary, will even be my only country until death…”

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I think of our Province’s “Moving Forward” process which has begun with our Mazenodian Family members. It seems that we are being asked to look at our missions – where we have come from so that we will then be able to look at where we are being called to. How willing are we to take part in this missionary endeavor, be it old or new.

    We receive ongoing formation, and we are nourished – all so that we can live out our oblation – and I do not take that word lightly. For our oblation is born of love which only deepens with time.

    And if we are older and seem to slow down as we all do eventually it does not mean that our zeal has waned or died out. It is there, deeper and fuller and as we move we take the time to look around and savour all that God has given to us – in nature, in the peoples who have been sent to us and the many that we in turn are sent to.

    And like Fr. Dassy we accept and become a living part of those we have been sent to – the poor with their many faces. And like Fr. Dassy our hearts still throb with zeal as we greet each new day as an adventure. This will be, God willing, our place and way of being until death.

    I think for a moment of Denyse Mostert who has died and is now living in the fullness of new life. I am reminded of how she was called in different ways and how she responded to those calls with all that she had.

    Moving Forward – this two is a vast field that is opening up – what will it look like as we respond with zeal?

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