JOIN US IN PRAYER TODAY AS A MAZENODIAN FAMILY

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JOIN THE MAZENODIAN FAMILY IN PRAYER

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PAUSE EXTENDED TO JULY 5

This service is available in English, Spanish, French, Polish and Czech. We have hit a small glitch in keeping our translations synchronized. So, the service will resume in all languages on July 5.

A reminder that all the 2503 previously published entries on the writings of Saint Eugene are available for you to consult on the site http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/.

In addition, should you wish to research a word or concept you can do so by using the search engine on the homepage of the site.

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THE MAZENODIAN FAMILY UNITES WITH POPE FRANCIS TO PRAY TODAY

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JOIN THE MAZENODIAN FAMILY IN PRAYER

For the prayer text: https://sites.google.com/view/mazenodianfamily/monthly-oraison/may-16-2021 

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IF YOU HAVE FAILED IN A TRIAL SO WEAK AS THIS, WHAT WILL YOU DO IN THE MIDST OF THE OBSTACLES OF A DIFFICULT MISSION?

Father Bermond had begged Eugene to be sent to Canada as one of the pioneer missionaries, but Eugene had reasons to hesitate and so did not include him. In the previous entry we saw how Bermond had resisted to be changed from one community in France to another. Eugene responded to his request in a blunt, but loving way.

But after reflection I come back to your letter. I ought to tell you that it has given me much grief. Your resistance over such an easy thing, the miserable reasons you allege, the insistence with which you oblige me to revoke my decision without worrying about the trouble you may cause me, all this gives me food for thought. First, if your health is so feeble as to make you afraid of several months of a change of air from Marseilles to Aix, will it not be supremely imprudent to risk transferring you 2000 leagues away where you will live in a country of which the climate is so rigorous, so cold in winter and so hot in summer?

Moreover, in such distant missions where one can expect so many frustrations, so many vexations, and where to serve demands so much sacrifice for the will, so much fatigue for the body, men are needed who are firmly rooted in holy indifference, devotedness, absolute obedience, men of sacrifice who act promptly and willingly in opposition to their own ideas, etc. If you have failed, my dear son, in a trial so weak as the one which has been the first to present itself, what will you do in the midst of the obstacles of a difficult mission?

… My duty is to send men strong in integrity, lovers of religious discipline, jealous of the honour of the Congregation which others compromise by their murmuring, their spirit of independence and their lack of regularity… Do you feel yourself to be one of these strong men I seek?

I end, my dear son, for lack of paper yet still with enough space to embrace you.

Letter to Fr. Francois Bermond, 8 September 1842, EO I n 12

A good example of the fatherhood of Eugene: truthful and direct, yet a loving father who wanted the best for his Oblate sons.

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THOSE WHO HAVE THE HABIT OF COMPLAINING WHEN IT IS A MATTER OF THEIR PERSONAL PREFERENCE

Eugene’s role as leader of the Oblate Congregation meant that he had to distribute the Oblates according to the needs of the missions we were caring for. In some cases, he encountered difficulties because of personal likes and dislikes of individuals.

I express how much I was displeased by the repugnance shown by Fr. Bermond to go to the residence at Aix for a while. The pretext of health is not admissible for a man who implores to be sent to the ends of the earth.

Father Bermond had insisted that he should be sent to Canada as a missionary, and yet complained about a temporary assignment to a community 50 miles away.

These dislikes obstruct administration, they are contrary to the basic principles of holy indifference which is the pivot of regularity and of good discipline. They are not allowable in any way, we dare not even acknowledge them.

Then Eugene wryly comments that all those Oblates who complained should be put in charge of finding personnel to fulfil the missions – they would change their tune very quickly!

Ah! I would like to hand over the care of combining the needs of all our houses and the placing of subjects on their way again to those who have been in the habit of complaining when it is a matter of their personal preference. We should see them at work.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 7 September 1842, EO XXI

Eventually, Eugene gave in to Fr Bermond’s desire, and left him where he was.

I made no reply to your letter of August 30th, my dear Father Bermond. I contented myself with letting Father Ricard know that I had yielded not to your reasons but to your dislike and that I would leave you at Lumières.

Letter to Fr. Francois Bermond, 8 September 1842, EO I n 12

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LAITY ASSOCIATED WITH THE OBLATES IN MISSION AND IN SPIRITUAL BENEFITS

Writing to the benefactors who had been so generous to the Oblate missionaries in Canada, Eugene wrote to express his gratitude. A gratitude not expressed only in words, but in the action of making them Associates in all the spiritual benefits of the Oblates – as is expressed in making persons “Honorary Oblates.”

To Monsieur and Madame Olivier Berthelet,

Greeting and benediction in Our Lord Jesus Christ!

Your piety has inspired you, for the sake of your souls, with the desire to request that we admit you into communication of the good works of our Congregation. This request is all the more agreeable to us in that we know how much this Congregation is indebted to you for the gift your pious charity has made to her of the beautiful place where those of our members who have gone to evangelise Canada will have their dwelling in the diocese of Montreal. By your generosity, you are taking a great part in the good to be done in this country and you have acquired a right to our just gratitude.

So it is wholeheartedly that in virtue of the authority invested in us by the Holy See as Superior General of the said Congregation we grant you in Jesus Christ participation in the merits of the sacrifices, prayers, fasts and generally in all good works and pious exercises, both spiritual and corporal which, by the grace of God, take place in this Congregation, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Moreover we pray God the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ to deign to ratify and confirm in Heaven this spiritual concession, the while we implore Him to make good our poverty from the inexhaustible riches of the treasure of the merits of His Son, also to heap you with graces and blessings in this life and finally to reward you with the crown of eternal glory.

Given at Marseilles under our sign, the seal of our arms and the countersign of the secretary of the Congregation on the 25th of September, 1842.

+ C. J. Eugene, Bishop of Marseilles.

By mandate of Monseigneur, our most Reverend Father, Tempier, first assistant.

Letter to Mr. and Mrs. Olivier Berthelet at Montreal, 25 September 1842, EO I n 13

In our Mazenodian Family we find this reality continued today.

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THE GENEROSITY OF OUR LAY ASSOCIATES

From the first day of our existence as Oblates, our missionary successes would not have been possible without the presence and assistance of our lay supporters. Twenty six years later, this was proved true in Canada just months after the arrival of the Oblates in Quebec.

God works miracles for us… the beautiful domain of Longueuil, on the banks of the river St Lawrence across from Montreal, has been given to us completely free. It has a splendid house, a magnificent garden and, agreeable as it is useful, a meadow. Generous as they have been, the benefactors are inclined to add yet another piece of land to this already considerable property. Other good souls wish to add their sponsorships to those already received.

Letter to Fr Casimir Aubert, 26 September 1842, EO III n 2

These benefactors were so impressed by the zeal of these Oblates that they made generous contributions to their mission. To one of these benefactors who had given a large sum of money to accompany the gift of the house, Eugene wrote:

“…This request is all the more agreeable to us in that we are indebted to you for your pious generosity which has contributed considerably to the gift which has been made to the said Congregation…”

This missionary partnership continues until today – not only in temporal assistance, but with missionary cooperation as co-workers in a missionary Mazenodian Family. Today our Rule of Life expresses this gift of Mazenodian cooperation in these words: ” Lay people recognize that they are called to share in the charism according to their state of life, and to live it in ways that vary according to milieu and cultures. They share in the charism in a spirit of communion and reciprocity amongst themselves and with the Oblates.”

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OUR DUTY IN RESPONSE TO THIS REMARKABLE FAVOUR IS TO NEGLECT NOTHING IN TRAINING RELIGIOUS WHO ARE FIT TO SERVE THE CHURCH AND SOCIETY

The Oblates were experiencing a growth in vocations. God’s gift in calling new members required a response of gratitude expressed in generosity in caring for and developing the growth of these young men.

There is no sacrifice we should not make for the education and good direction of the numerous members the Lord has so liberally given us, for which fact we will never be able to thank him enough. Our duty in response to this remarkable favour is to neglect nothing in training religious who are fit to serve the Church and society.
Growing numbers ensured a more fruitful mission in the future

In moments when we feel hard pressed, we may now envisage a fairly near future when we will be able to act with greater ease. That is sufficient motive to encourage us and to help us to be patient.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 23 August 1842, EO IX n 775

Eugene’s words evoke a sense of gratitude for our vocations directors, formation personnel, and for the immeasurable generosity of our Mazenodian Family members who make the training of new missionaries possible. They are remembered each day in the prayers of the Congregation.

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