At the end of his retreat Eugene returned to his responsibilities as Oblate Superior General. He responds to one of the regular reports from a superior on the state of the community he cared for.

My dear Father Courtès, your last two letters gave me enormous pleasure. I mean those where you give me an account of the state of your community and of your own situation in particular. The one I received after my retreat afforded me all the more consolation in that I had myself just come from a very serious meditation centered precisely on what had struck you yourself.

Once again he shares the experience of his fruitful retreat on the Oblate Constitutions and Rules and their meaning.

Perhaps like never before I grasped the value of the favour that God has shown us and like never before I came to appreciate the means that God puts at our disposal in the Congregation to serve him as we should and sanctify ourselves.
Those who do not make good use of them will be culpable indeed. I beg you to inform all our Fathers of my satisfaction on reading what you say to me concerning themselves. I exhort them to read the Rules with as much attention as I have just given them, perhaps they will have some surprises and make some fresh discoveries.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 4 November 1831, EO VIII n 407

Two hundred years after Eugene wrote the first Oblate Rule of Life we, as members of the Mazenodian Family, are all invited to return to the source of our charism and spirituality and to allow ourselves to be surprised by what God wants to communicate to us through it.

This entry was posted in WRITINGS. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Eugene making a retreat on the Constitutions and Rules – the very ones he had himself written and copied and amended. And Eugene stating that he did not recognize himself in them, that he did not recognize his authorship of this expression of the charism which had been given to him by God and which he in turn had shared and lived with his founding community. I use these words quite deliberately because they are still new to me and I like the idea of looking at them as they slowly become a part of me – each utterance bringing a new and richer understanding.

    I think back to my visit to the “Illuminated Crowd” sculpture a few years ago – those who were witnessing a great event and their responses. Some were standing there open to whatever it was, trying to take it all in, to capture and witness even the most minute instances of it, while others were looking down, not wanting to witness it, out of fear or tiredness or for any number of reasons. This was a few years ago that I did this and there has always been the desire to return and make some ‘fresh discoveries’.

    Something so ordinary as a sculpture being able to do that to me. Something so ordinary as the Oblate Rule of Life that it is magnificently extraordinary – these Constitutions and Rules, whispered and shared by the Spirit.

    Eugene’s experience of God, shared and lived out, brought into the now of our lives. Experiencing this in the Constitutions and Rules, this beautiful Rule of Life as witnessed and lived and shared by so many others. This is the invitation, our invitation, to say yes and allow ourselves to be renewed and filled with a way to respond on our journey, as we enter ever more deeply into the mystery that is our God.

    That is where I am caught right now, these are the nets that I have swum into and isn’t it odd that they do not confine but rather that they embrace and show me the way to total freedom. And isn’t it a grace to have a place like this to come to each more and to see where God leads me, to experience Eugene’s invitation to pause and journey with him.

    I think of Eugene making the Oblate Rule the focus of his retreat. I look at the words that Frank has written about returning to ‘the source of our charism’ and spirituality’. The surprises and delights that are in there for us. I have run out of superlatives for there simply not the words to describe what I have seen and heard. This feeds me as I work on my assignments and get ready to begin anew the coming week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *