August 15 had given Eugene a renewed clarity of vision and injection of missionary zeal. The focus of the ministry of the community was more clearly on the aspect of “all for God”  and service to the most abandoned rather than on themselves and their personal difficulties and comfort.

Writing to the Pastor of the town of Aubagne, in preparation for a mission, Eugene gave some indication of the lifestyle of the Missionaries when they were in a place for a period of 5-6 weeks of intense parish mission. “Simplicity” was the keyword.

You will help us greatly if you do not entrust the feeding of the Missionaries to some restaurant-keeper; the Parish Board will be responsible for finding some good lady who can do that service at less cost and in a more fitting manner. We are forbidden to take such items as poultry, game and pastry. So it will not be hard to find someone who can put a pot on the fire and make what we call in Provence “La Carbonade.”
… Do not make any expenses for our lodging or furniture for the rooms you will assign to us. A bed, chair and table suffice for each Missionary. Only the Superior will need a desk to lock up the letters he receives.

Letter to Father Figon, Pastor of Aubagne, 5 October 1822, EO XIII n. 42


“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”     Lao Tzu

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I have thought about this since rising this morning, not in doubt or confusion but rather with a sense of understanding (and quiet joy, like rejoicing with). “Simplicity” – I can understand why that would have been so very important to Eugene and the others. For me, I find that the more “things” I have around me, the easier it is to be distracted, become unfocussed, to build up walls of people and things around me, to be in control. While on a recent trip I found myself stopping each morning and in the afternoon sometimes to stop and have a wonderful small cup of espresso coffee and even as I write this I relive the short experience of enjoying those pauses. There is nothing wrong with having a coffee, or something else, those pauses were not bad in any way. But looking back – they were a small break away from what I was experiencing on my pilgrimage, a moving away from one space into another.

    Have you ever noticed that when on retreat, or a pilgrimage, or a camping trip of some sort, we are reduced to simpler way of living – without all the frills and clutter, even the noise of conversation can sometimes become too much of a distraction. We are at our best somehow when not dressed up and wrapped in finery of some kind, when not distracted by a lot of noise and busyness, inside and out. We are at our most vulnerable then, open and transparent. I think that it is at those times we are more open to allowing God to work through us, allowing others to see us as we truly are. Like John the Baptist, or St. Paul, or St. Eugene – it is then we can focus on giving, on living our all for God. It is then we allow the joy to be shared. It is then God that those around us see and focus on.
    And Eugene had that message, that wisdom and grace so very early on. There is so much we can and do learn from him. Awesome, simply awesome how our God works!

  2. Jack Lau, OMI says:

    The imagery of this scene is priceless. What about a DVD.
    And yes, I had to go on line to check out the recipe for “La Carbonade”, but in doing
    so I found the Flemish version made with beer. I don’t think Eugene would approve. So I continued the search and I found La Carbonnade de Mouton or more correctly “old lamb/sheep”. I don’t think I will be cooking up Mutton/mouton here at the novitiate but maybe for a feast day lamb. Imagine that, lamb here is a specialty and not simple and pricey. So maybe I will get a inexpensive piece of beef a bottle of red wine, onions, carrots and herb de Provence add to that a few hours of oraison and we will be set. I know, the recipe would then be called a Daube, but lets not worry over semantics, I hope you enjoyed this change of pace and for tomorrow, Blessing on the first feast day of the Oblate Martyrs of Spain

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