THE BISHOP OF KINGSTON, HAVING WITNESSED THE MARVELS THAT GOD HAS WROUGHT THROUGH THE MINISTRY OF THESE APOSTOLIC WORKERS, HAS WISHED TO CALL THEM TO BYTOWN IN HIS DIOCESE

In three years the Canadian mission had grown in an amazing way as the local bishops came to appreciate the missionary potential of the Oblates. The time had come for the appointment of a capable Oblate to oversee the situation. The founder decided on Father Guigues, who was highly respected by the Bishop of Grenoble, in whose diocese he worked. Eugene wrote to that Bishop to break the news in a diplomatic way. In doing so, he gives a good overview of the missionary work of the Oblates in Canada.

You are aware of all the good effected by your dear sons, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, in the vast diocese of Montreal and you have blessed the Lord for it. You will not then learn without further consolation that other regions have opened before them. The Bishop of Kingston, having witnessed the marvels that God has wrought through the ministry of these apostolic workers, has wished to call them to Bytown in his diocese, a town where Indigenous groups are close by the mission to whom he has confided to the Oblates. Also he has at the same time entrusted them with catering to the spiritual needs of what they call the lumber camps in that country. These are numerous agglomerations of three or four hundred men dispersed in the immense forests of this part of the new world. Here poor Christians spend six to eight months logging the trees without any religious resources to help preserve them from the dangers inseparable from this nomadic and dissipated life…

In this state of affairs I find myself obliged to send to the scene a capable man who has my entire confidence so that he can organize properly the services of the Congregation in the different ministries entrusted to her and in the different places where he will judge it opportune to establish her. This person cannot be other than Father Guigues. You know his skill and devotedness. I think that the paternal affection you have for the family whose interests you have always espoused will incline you to approve this choice especially as your diocese will be affected, not by a brief absence of Father Guigues, but by one of several years…

Letter to to Bishop Philibert de Bruillard, Bishop of Grenoble, 24 May 1844

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1 Response to THE BISHOP OF KINGSTON, HAVING WITNESSED THE MARVELS THAT GOD HAS WROUGHT THROUGH THE MINISTRY OF THESE APOSTOLIC WORKERS, HAS WISHED TO CALL THEM TO BYTOWN IN HIS DIOCESE

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    There is a very real joy in reading and reflecting on our humble beginnings here in Canada and especially in Ottawa, which although it is now the seat of the Canadian government, began as a small lumber town called Bytown.

    Here we have Eugene writing to the Bishop of Grenoble about borrowing the services of Fr. Guigues and sending him to Canada for a few years. Fr. Guigues became Bishop Guigues and spent the rest of his life here in Canada, in Ottawa. He did what the Oblates became known for doing not only in Bytown/Ottawa, but across the country. And it is easy to find in him the spirit of the Founder.

    There is an invitation this morning to reflect on my own beginnings with the Oblates and look at how that has grown over the years as the sons of Eugene de Mazenod taught and shared their experiences of God with me. I remember I was interested in their spirituality and their way of being but I did not dream of becoming a part of the Mazenodian Family and then in my own small way helping to draw people together in community. Truly, I simply wanted to share my experience of God with others and believed that if my heart could touch just one other person then I would be blessed.

    I look and give thanks to God for introducing me to his beloved Oblates, and for planting me in their midst where I have been nourished and supported, tended-to and taught, guided, and most importantly walked-with. In the Oblates becoming instruments of God, I too have been able to give myself to God, to the Church, the people of God.

    I sit in wonder and gratitude because this morning I can look and say that God has looked upon me and allowed me to become an instrument. My heart sings…

    My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
    And my spirit exalts in God my Savior
    For He has looked with mercy on my loneliness
    And my name will be forever exalted
    For the mighty God has done great things for me
    And His mercy will reach from age to age
    And holy, holy, holy is His name.

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