From the very beginning, Eugene insisted that whatever missionary work was done, its success depended on the quality of life of those doing it. It was the example of the lifestyle of the missionary that was to speak louder than any words. This is why for Eugene, community and a commonly accepted Rule of Life was a non-negotiable element of our vocation.

In our 206 year history, many lay persons have joined the Oblates in living a vocation to be missionaries, expressed in many ways according to their state of life.


The Mazenodian Family at prayer in the Oblate Chapel in  Aix en Provence

Each of the members of the Mazenodian family has a vocation to BE (to have an exemplary quality of life) – in order to DO (to evangelize people and help them to find a Christ-focused meaning in their lives).

Eugene highlighted the core ideal to Tempier:

… an establishment which will steadily furnish our countryside with fervent missionaries.

These will ceaselessly engage in destroying the empire of the demon, at the same time as providing the example of a life worthy of the Church in the community which they will form.

Indeed, we will live together in one house, that which I have bought, under a Rule we shall adopt with common accord

To form “one heart and one soul” is a concept dear to the heart of the Founder. As the size of the Congregation grew, so did he become increasingly insistent on this unity. For Eugene, his missionary family was the most beautiful family in the whole world and he wanted it to be the most united. The one heart and one soul was formed by an equilibrium in lifestyle and Eugene’s constant call was for a greater balance – BE in order to DO:

Happiness awaits us in this holy Society which will have but one heart and soul. One part of the year will be devoted to the conversion of souls, the other to seclusion, study and our individual sanctification.

I say no more for the moment; it suffices to give some intimation of the spiritual delights we will taste together…

… All depends on how we begin. We need perfect unanimity of sentiments, the same goodwill, the same disinterestedness, the same devotedness – that sums it up.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 9 October 1815, EO VI n 4

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Returning to the basics 101 – that is what we are being invited to with today’s posting. It is our being in, with and through God that we do. The quality of our being becomes the model we offer to the world, and it is that which gives life to our doing.

    We sit again with Henri Tempier and Eugene as we re-explore the very pillars of our life in community: we re-experience the very tenets of the life we have been called to adopt and take full part in, so they become our own.

    And my heart sings.

    We come together in community, sharing in the charism, the gift of the Spirit to the Church, “according to our state of life, and to live it in ways that vary according to milieu and cultures” (R 37a). All of us united in “communion – participation – mission” as members of the people of God, of our respective Churches, our parishes, and our families. And for us, members of the Oblate Family.

    Communion – participation – mission… The deeper I go the more it all seems be a part of a greater whole – much more than a one-time event. I think of Eugene and his founding companions and how they felt called to rebuild the Church and to again bring together all the people of God. And that is exactly what we are being called to take part in again today.

    It is the quality of our being that enlivens and becomes a beacon and a model. It is from the quality of our being that we become models of life – then allow ourselves to be sent out as missionaries to evangelize, to do.

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