Since their foundation in 1816 the Missionaries of Provence had been buffeted by different storms within and outside of the church. We have seen how there was no authority figure on whom they could rely for unswerving protection. Having Fortuné as Bishop, would now give them a greater stability as there was now an ecclesiastical authority who would stand up for them. The biographer Rey describes the reaction of the Missionaries:

There was great joy in the community. They were inspired by the same motives of faith and devotion which had inspired the Founder. The trials had shown the necessity of an effective protection against powerful and determined opponents. A Bishop in Provence who was favorable to the Missionaries would make it easier to recruit new members, ensure peace and security and allow the apostolic zeal that filled their hearts to produce fruit. The glory of God and the salvation of souls were the objectives that everyone desired.

Rey I chapter IX


Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.    Romans 8:35,37

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I do like this mornings writings. I think of the members of the as-yet young congregation and of the doubts and struggles that they faced on an ongoing basis – it could only help to have someone within “power” on their side, to be a buffer. It is always an extra boon when we have that little bit of extra support and protection. One less battle to pitch. These are battles that we cannot turn away from, indeed we do not want to turn away from them at all, but they are battles and so not comfortable or easy as we remain faithful to our individual and collective journies. Always we know we have God – always and unwavering. But we need, desire and want that extra reassurance so it is akin to receiving those words of encouragement and hugs from those we look up to, those we love. Perhaps it is recognizing that we are not in it alone and that someone outside of our immediate selves is attuned and there for and with us.

    Yesterday in our parish I was witness to something so special and holy. A young woman coming forth who is preparing to be baptised and become more fully a member of our community, of our family. We were invited to come forward and bless her if we wished. One by one various members from the parish community came forward. We blessed her, hugged her and whispered private words of welcome, of support and love. We were all in tears, of joy. I likened it to witnessing David when he renewed his temporary vows and then when he made is perpetual ones. This young woman did not truly “need” our words of love and encouragement, but it was such a gift to her to receive.

    Even reading St. Paul – always that is a help, an extra bit of support. Not that all our struggles and battles are earth-shattering or world-changing (athough that could be argued I suppose), but they are ours, mine. It is so good to have the “heavy-weights” in our corner, patting us on the back, hugging us, reminding us we are not alone. Those heavy-weights like Fortuné was to the early Oblates, like St. Eugene is to all of us, along with St. Paul, as are each of you.

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