EUGENE DE MAZENOD WAS ONE OF THOSE APOSTLES WHO PREPARED MODERN TIMES, OUR TIMES

From the homily of Pope John Paul 2 at the canonization ceremony of Eugene de Mazenod on the First Sunday of Advent, 3 December 1995:

PRAYER OF EUGENE DE MAZENOD

You, you alone will be the sole object to which will tend all my affections and my every action. To please you, act for your glory, will be my daily task, the task of every moment of my life. I wish to live only for you, I wish to love you alone and all else in you and through you. I despise riches, I trample honours under foot; you are my all, replacing all else. My God, my love and my all: Deus meus et omnia.

Notes made during the retreat in preparation for priestly ordination, December 1-21, E.O. XIV n.95

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NOVEMBER 28: MEMORIAL OF THE 22 OBLATE MARTYRS OF SPAIN

Between July and November 1936, 22 Oblates were martyred because of who they were and what they stood for. The youngest was 18, the next oldest was 19, and sixteeen others were in their twenties.

Prayer:

Almighty and eternal God
Who granted to Francisco Esteban and his martyred companions
the grace of giving their lives for Christ,
through a bloody oblation,
help us in our weakness,
so that through their intercession
and following their example,
we too might remain firm in our faith
and might be able to give our lives for others
through the “martyrdom of charity,”
according to the teaching of St. Eugene de Mazenod;
and in this way,
we might be able to give witness to the world
about who Jesus Christ is.
We ask this through the intercession of our Mother, Mary Immaculate,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Read more about them in “Eugene de Mazenod Speaks to us”:
http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=1142;   http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=1148;

THE FIRST GROUP OF MARTYRS

MARTYRDOM AS THE FULLNESS OF OBLATION

SPANISH MARTYRS – ALL FOR GOD

THE SPANISH MARTYRS: MODELS OF FAITH AND INTERCESSORS FOR US

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IN PREPARATION FOR THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CANONIZATION OF ST. EUGENE: 3 DECEMBER

In the name of God, let us be saints.

Eugene de Mazenod to his Oblate Family, 18 February 1826, EO VII, n. 226

On December 3 we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the day when the Church officially recognized the sanctity of Eugene de Mazenod, and held him up as a model from whom we can learn how to follow Jesus the Savior.

Our Postulator General in Rome, Father Diego Saez OMI, has published a booklet with various reflections that can be used for personal prayer, family reflection or a group meeting (Zoom works well to make this possible).

It can be downloaded at https://www.omiworld.org/2020/11/17/154787/

I highly recommend it to you.

In the name of God, let us be saints – following Eugene’s example as members of the Mazenodian Family!

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2020 – WHAT IS THERE TO BE THANKFUL FOR?

Today on the United States we celebrate Thanksgiving. I was never familiar with this celebration until I became a member of the US Province of the Missionary Oblates eight years ago. I have learnt that it is a beautiful moment to stop, take stock and give thanks to God for the blessings of the previous year. Its historical origin was the end of the harvest and giving thanks to God for the fruits of the earth. I invite you, who are outside of the US, to join in the spirit of this Thanksgiving today.

2020 – what is there to be thankful for? A pandemic, illness, death, fear, confusion caused by political situations, economic uncertainty, hunger… Thanksgiving???

Yes, gratitude! In the midst of so much darkness I invite you to be grateful for St Eugene and his charism that has given birth to the Mazenodian Family. Let’s join him in the gratitude that he expressed at the end of his long and fruitful life. The Oblates were the first fruits of what was to become his universal charismatic family: 

Be sure to tell them that I die happy… that I die happy that God was so good as to choose me to found the Congregation of the Oblates in the Church.

(Quoted by J. Fabre, Circular letter 1861)

Through the example of his life and of his teaching, St Eugene shows us how to keep focused on God as the only unshakable foundation that will never disappear.

To keep focused on Jesus our Savior as our light, our pilot, our shepherd who never abandons us.

I am grateful that the spirit of Eugene continues to accompany us so that in the darkness of the pandemic we can focus on the power of the resurrection that no pandemic can eliminate:

If we bear in our body the death of Jesus, it is with the hope that the life of Jesus, too, may be seen in our body (cf. 2 Cor 4:10). Through the eyes of our crucified Saviour we see the world which he redeemed with his blood, desiring that those in whom he continues to suffer will know also the power of his resurrection (cf. Phil 3: 10).       

OMI Constitutions and Rules, Constitution 4

Today I am grateful for the Mazenodian Family and for the opportunity I have each day to reflect on the words of Eugene and to share this with you in our “St Eugene de Mazenod Speaks.” I am grateful for the technology that makes it possible and that keeps us connected.

2020 – what is there to be thankful for? Plenty! Today I give thanks in a special way for the gift of each one of you and our connection in this daily St Eugene reflection. Thanks to God, thanks to Eugene and thanks to YOU!

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IT WILL BE A BEAUTIFUL PAGE IN OUR HISTORY.

Eugene wrote in his Diary:

Answers from our various houses on the question I submitted to them. We should record all of them as they are so edifying…  
It will be a beautiful page in our history. The spirit of this little known Congregation and the dedication of its members will be visible. I defy the most regular Orders that enjoy the highest esteem in the Church to provide a better example.

Eugene continues, “let them read the letters of” and he lists the names of 13 Oblates: 

 and they will see that the spirit of God animates these souls, that they understand the duties of their holy state, that zeal for the salvation of others, devotion to the Church and love for the Congregation are the common prerogative of our dear family.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 24 July 1841, EO XX

 A few days later he enthusiastically exclaimed:

They will honor our small and humble Congregation, which unfurls its standard for the first time outside the confines of its birthplace, and they will bring down God’s blessing by their holiness and the efforts of their zeal not only upon the work they undertake but on the whole Congregation in the name of which they will fight.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 6 August 1841, EO XX

That small step was to be a giant leap for the Mazenodian Family! I hope Neil Armstrong doesn’t mind my paraphrasing his words, but this acceptance led to a major paradigm shift for us and for hundreds of thousands of people enriched by the Mazenodian missionaries.

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HERE IS A VAST FIELD THAT IS OPENING UP TO HER ZEAL.

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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A NEW MEMBER JOINS THE MAZENODIAN FAMILY COMMUNITY IN HEAVEN

DENYSE MOSTERT, Missionary Oblate Associate RIP

For over ten years, Denyse has been writing a daily reflection in response to the French version of “Eugene de Mazenod  Speaks”. She was an intuitive writer who loved St Eugene and communicated his message in an attractive way. It was our love for St Eugene who brought us together and made us friends (and coincidentally we shared the same birthday, even though the years were different). Each day, since 2010, when my meditation was published in French, she would respond with her own incisive reflection on the same material, bringing a greater depth of understanding to St Eugene’s text.  I was told many times by several people that they preferred her interpretation to mine – it made me so happy to hear this and to be able to tease her about it.

Adieu, Denyse, and thank you for all that you did to make Saint Eugene better known, understood and loved!

I ask all our English readers to pray in thanksgiving for Denyse, and for comfort to her children and grandchildren, whom she loved passionately. May she rest in peace.

 

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OBLATE ASSOCIATES AND MEMBERS OF THE MAZENODIAN FAMILY, COME AND JOIN US!

Eugene de Mazenod is the saint who has brought us together. We are associated to his spirituality, charism and mission. We now invite you to come to know him better.

Fathers David Muñoz, Bonga Thami and I have prepared a series of 20 minute videos (in English, Spanish, French and Italian) which we call “Eugene 101.” Each session comes with some reflection questions that can be used for individual prayer and for groups.

 

The lessons are available until June 2021. For more details and registration, please see: https://moodle.ost.edu/course/index.php?categoryid=28

 

The titles of each session are:

1/ A life shaped by the social and political history of France (1782 – 1861)

2/ A privileged childhood radically changed by the political upheaval of the French Revolution

3/ A migrant exiled from his own country and culture for eleven years

4/ The discovery by a directionless young man of the Crucified Christ as his Savior

5/ A vocation to be a cooperator of the Savior as a priest

6/ Eugene de Mazenod’s option for the most abandoned

7/ The poor, a precious portion of the Christian family, cannot be abandoned to their ignorance

8/ Eugene de Mazenod, icon of God’s love: a discernment towards apostolic community

9/ You are necessary for the work that the Lord inspires us to undertake (foundation of the Missionaries)

10/ Missions: close to God and close to the people

11/ Sustained by the unreserved gift we make of ourselves in our oblation

12/ In the joys and sorrows of our life, we feel close to Mary.

13/ The dark night of Eugene’s personal sufferings

14/ “A fire into many flames divided, yet never dimmed by sharing of its light” – Missions outside of France part 1

15/ A family affair – missions outside of France part 2

16/ Pastor of a diocese not inhabited by saints – Eugene and the Diocese of Marseilles – part 1

17/ Close to his people: the Bishop of Marseilles – part 2

18/ Tell them that I die happy

19/ His spirit continues to live always in the heart of his children

20/ The spirituality of St. Eugene lived in the Mazenodian family

COME AND JOIN US! 

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I COULD CONFIDE THIS NEW MISSION ONLY TO MEN OF GOOD WILL AND DEDICATION AND THUS I HAD TO BE SURE OF THEIR AGREEMENT

Before agreeing to send missionaries across the Atlantic to Canada, Eugene had to consult all the Oblates.

Well! I dared not respond positively to the bishop, but I promised him that I would consider his request and that upon his return I would explain thesteps that I was going to take to satisfy him.

My desire was to consult all the members of the Congregation and to reply to the Bishop of Montreal only after having their consent. It was a faraway mission. It would take dedication to undertake it.

I could confide it only to men of good will and dedication. I had to be sure of their agreement. This is what I have done.

He then describes their reaction to the consultation .

I first called some of my local superiors to meet with me. They immediately echoed this view. Some other members of the Congregation who wereinformed…  offered to be among the first to go.

All have assured me that there would be one voice for accepting such a beautiful proposal.

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

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WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MISSION LIES BEFORE US

Noting in his diary that Bishop Bourget had asked for some Oblate missionaries to be sent to Canada, Eugene enthusiastically saw the possibilities opening up for the Congregation.

He asked me for at least four missionaries; he would pay for the trip and would give them a parish in his diocese to provide for the needs of thecommunity that could increase in the future, not only with subjects that I could still provide but with those who he hopes would join him in that country.

Our missionaries would be responsible to give missions in various parishes of his diocese and could also evangelize the indigenous people whenone of them would have learned their language.

What a beautiful mission lies before us. I saw with consolation that those of our people to whom I have spoken have welcomed the idea with enthusiasm.

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

From that moment until today, beautiful missions have opened up for us in over 65 countries. All it took was to become aware that God was opening the door and continues to do so today in all aspects of our lives.

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