“Seeing the world through the eyes of Christ the Savior” Eugene and the Oblates had a special sensitivity and outreach for those who were not being adequately ministered to by the structures of the church. In some cases it was because of language in a church whose preaching and ceremonies were in Latin and French. The uneducated, and therefore usually poor, people who spoke only Provencal were on the fringes of ministry. In the seaport of Marseille, the numerous fishermen and their wives fitted into this category, as did the many Italian dockworkers. The love of the Oblates constantly responded to their needs at the Calvaire shrine in the city, and especially during the jubilee mission:

I have now spent two days almost entirely in the church which is full all the time. If there were ten of us to confess we would still be busy.
On Sunday, March 11th, we gave Benediction three times: in the morning after the instruction in Provençal, at half past ten for the departure of our missionaries of Roquevaire and again in the evening, at which time there were not enough seats.
There are lots of people every day and especially there are throngs of poor fishermen at the confessionals. Our ministry is thriving; all goes well ….

Letter to Marius Suzanne, 20 March 1827, EO VII n 268


“Who, being loved, is poor?”     Oscar Wilde

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3 Responses to WHO, BEING LOVED, IS POOR?

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I think sometimes that we all have a sense of being poor – perhaps in our very woundedness, even while we accept and live that we are rich beyond anything we could have dreamed of. All because we know love, we have experienced what it is to be loved from the inside out. Those points of connection with God, with others, with all of life.

    Last night I was blessed to attend a screening of “Pareil pas Pareil” followed by “Love and Beyond” presented by L’Arche. There was almost a physical connection somehow, to be a witness to such love and wisdom, to incredible joy that comes with the freedom to be loved and to love. Watching the face of another and thinking I “know” this person, when in truth I have never met him, and yet recognizing the joy and invitation to love and be loved. His face is somehow the face of so many who I have met and known, perhaps I am recognizing the inner face which is love and beauty, and, and….

    There seems to be now a whole new meaning to the “poor you” expression that is used. Rather the idea of being grateful for being able to meet, to touch and experience another. This morning I feel rich beyond belief – it has not been earned or deserved, simply given and shared. Awesome.

  2. Ken Hart says:

    This expresses very well how it is that the Oblates speak to me so clearly in my mission. The needs of those handicapped by the difficulty established structures

    • Ken Hart says:

      Sorry about that. The needs of those handicapped by the difficulty established structures have in responding can only be met by thinking out of the box in the way Eugene always did. With the best will in the world good organizations have trouble allocating resources to meeting these needs. It is non-trivial to make the choices favoring one group over another. Love is the key to getting it right.

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