Young Fabre, the best subject of the seminary, has been received as a novice.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 17 February 1844, EO XXI

This simple sentence in Eugene’s journal introduces us to the 20 year-old Joseph Fabre, who had been a diocesan seminarian in Marseilles for 2 years and had now begun his formation to become a Missionary Oblate. For the next 17 years he was in continuous contact with the Bishop Eugene and Father Tempier, both of whom esteemed him. Through this close contact he was able to imbibe their Oblate spirit. After the death of Eugene, it was the 37 year-old Joseph Fabre who succeeded him as Superior General.

When he was elected to be Eugene’s successor, he concluded the Chapter of 1861 by saying:

“I feel the assistance of our much loved Founder; he has not left us!

I was at his deathbed and said to him, “You will always be among us.” “Yes,” he replied, and he has kept his promise.

He remains among us through the Holy Rule which he had left us, and which is the expression of his love for God and the salvation of souls: it is the glorious testament of his enormous heart, and in observing it we will find all our strength.”

Father Fabre’s first circular letter to the Oblates as Superior General contains an invitation to all of us, members of the Family which is inspired by the spirit of Saint Eugene:

“Let us be united in spirit and in heart

and we will be strong for doing what is good;

let us be united in the memory of a Father

forever beloved”

For further details see:


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1 Response to YOUNG FABRE

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Here we have Fr. Joseph Fabre who was a young man when he became Superior General at the age of 37. Beaudoin does not indicate that he ever gave any missions, only that his major obedience until he became Superior General was in the area of formation for the young men joining the congregation. Yet of the twenty votes for Superior General, he received nineteen and this speaks so very loudly and strongly of the Holy Spirit being not only in the midst of the General Chapter, but of leading it, of leading the entire congregation. This was not something that Fabre had been groomed for, but it was he who was chosen.

    For a moment, my thoughts dwell on Mary, the Mother of God who was chosen to give birth to Jesus. “Let it be done unto me according to your will.” Our model of oblation, she is our mother and our patroness. Her entire life was about giving herself over to the missio Dei, God’s mission, and we, all of us who share in the Mazenodian spirit carry her name as part of our own.

    The first Superior General to follow in the footsteps of St. Eugene de Mazenod, a young Oblate who undoubtedly carried and shared the spirit of the Founder as congregation moved forward in a new way.

    It is less than two weeks since our meeting with our Provincial team and looking at how we as a Province might move forward; always being led and carried by the Spirit, and in that by the spirit of the Founder. This is how we walk in the footsteps of St. Eugene de Mazenod, finding our place in the Mazenodian Family.

    Human, christian, saints… How we are led. What we live and share.

    “Let us be united in spirit and in heart and we will be strong for doing what is good; let us be united in the memory of a Father forever beloved.” What a beautiful sentiment as we begin, another day, another week…

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