When an ambassador comes to a new country to represent his Head of State, he presents his “credentials” to the president or monarch of the new country where he is. For Eugene the Cross is the “credential” that shows that it is God who is sending the Missionary to be the co-operator of the Savior among the people to whom he is missioning.

This crucifix will serve as the credentials of their ambassadorship to be carried out by them among different peoples to whom they will be sent. 

The “credential” is a sign to others, and a reminder to the Missionary himself of his status of being constantly sent by the Savior:

It will not only inspire with respect the people whom they have to evangelize, but it will also be a perpetual reminder to the missionaries themselves of the humility, patience, charity, and all the other virtues which they are called upon to practice in the exercise of their most holy and inspiring ministry.

1818 Rule, Part Two, Chapter One. Regarding other principal observances

 Today, after a period of intense formation, the new Oblate receives his “credentials” to share in the Cross of Jesus, whose promises are his hope:

Novitiate formation ends with a free and faith-filled commitment in the Oblate Congregation. The novice, having experienced the Father’s love in Jesus, dedicates his life to making that love visible. He entrusts his fidelity to the one whose cross he shares, whose promises are his hope.

CC&RR, Constitution 59


“A witness, in the sense that I am using the word, is a man whose life and faith are so completely one that when the challenge comes to step out and testify for his faith, he does so, disregarding all risks, accepting all consequences.”   Whittaker Chambers

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  1. Jack Lau, OMI says:

    These are powerful reflections Frank.
    Sometimes familiarity brings about neglect.
    Yet for me there is a experiencial truth that the cross speaks to other even if at time we want to be anonymous. .
    It may be in the market, classroom, airport or bus. For the cross is the Key to the Heart. And regardless of the response-it is from the heart; it may be past hurt or praise or memory.
    And so as we the de Mazenodian family begin/continue to follow the founders spirit we will allow the cross to be the key to the human story and in our own way share the “mercy” chesed (heb. loving kindess) of God who is “Divine Mystery and Love”.

    • franksantucci says:

      Thanks, Jack, for the light you shed on this reflection. It is always so good to be enriched by the reactions of each of you who do so regularly. I long for the day when many more will respond. The relevance and richness of Eugene’s spirit only comes to light when many share their perceptions of it in different contexts. I live in hope of a gradually increasing set of reactions to enrich us all. Frank

  2. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    After reading this I was drawn for some reason, to go back and read those very first entries from May 2010. I found that Eugene’s self evaluation sparked quite a few things in me. He was able claim both his humanity and divinity (being within and a part of God / God within and a part of him). Free to state and live who he was – and who he became over the years – missionary, father, friend, mentor, etc. That cross that he wore, his credential was a visible symbol of who he was (in every and deepest sense of the word).

    It has taken me a long time but I come to truly understand and hopefully be what Whittaker Chambers says about being a witness: “A witness, in the sense that I am using the word, is a man whose life and faith are so completely one that when the challenge comes to step out and testify for his faith, he does so, disregarding all risks, accepting all consequences.” It was thus for St. Paul and for Eugene (and for many others then and now) that their life and faith truly are one, their life in and with God is so truly their “being” that just like breath is a part of our dna and how we live so is their life with God. It is their reality and everything else moves out from that. It is why I believe that Paul could write of the joy of God from his prison cell and why Eugene was able to live as he did with such daring and perseverance. The symbol of that was his Cross – and it really was the only credential he needed.

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