Awareness of the religious situation of the orphans of Marseille became the awareness of God’s call to the service of a group that was abandoned. One of Eugene’s biographers gives us the background:
The Divine Providence Orphanage needed chaplains for the orphans whose religious, moral and vocational training was being provided on Lenche Place, in the residence formerly owned by the Requeti de Mirabeau family. On February 5, 1821, at a meeting of the Board of Directors, Father Dugas, who greatly admired Father de Mazenod, made a motion that the board appeal to the latter and his colleagues, since they had achieved such perfect results with the youngsters of Aix.
Leflon volume 2, page 180
Eugene’s reaction to the request:
My uncle informed me about the proposal of the Members of the Work of Providence. If I understood it well, these men would want to know if we could undertake the direction of the poor people that their charity has gathered together in the former property of M. Allemand.
That kind of ministry enters perfectly into our line of work; I was so convinced of that, that three years ago I took some steps to bring the poor of the city of Aix together and instruct them in their religious duties;
certain difficulties obliged me to put off that plan to another time. Now it is all done at Marseilles. If those Gentlemen think that we can second the holy work that they have undertaken, we are at their command.
Letter to Madame Roux, 3 January 1821, EO XIII n. 32
To the Archbishop of Aix, whose responsibility the vacant diocese of Marseille was, he wrote of the:
desire to have such an establishment of missionaries like ours in their city to which they would entrust the care of those members of their flock who are most abandoned. They have experienced the incalculable advantage of such an establishment, not only for the great many people of this great city, but also for all the sectors that they would successively evangelize, and that could thereafter be easily cared for.
Letter to the Archbishop of Aix, 12 January 1821, EO XIII n. 33
The call of Jesus Christ, heard within the Church through people’s need for salvation, draws us together as Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
CC&RR, Constitution 1
“While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight; while children go hungry, as they do now I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight; I’ll fight to the very end!” General William Booth, Founder of the Salvation Army