For my part, my very dear Sons, I will be content to sum up my advice in this single recommendation: read and meditate upon your Holy Rule.

Circular Letter 1, 2 August 1853, EO XII

It is clear that the bulk of the work had been done in the preceding years. It became the occasion to put into words the spirit according to which he had lived during the events of the preceding years.

In compiling the Rule of the Missionaries of Provence in 1818, Eugene walked on solid ground.
Firstly he drew on his own experience of the sound formation he had received at St. Sulpice and on how he had lived this in practice in his life and ministry for nearly seven years since his ordination.

His ideals and rules for the Youth Congregation had been tried and tested and he brought this experience with him.

To this was added the experience of nearly three years of existence of the Missionaries of Provence and their practice of community living and ministry of proclamation of the Word of God through missions in Provence and ministry in Aix.

It was all this which Eugene brought with him and expressed in the Rule.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett says:

    “I will be content to sum up my advice in this single recommendation.” I wonder what my response for advice to life would be – most likely there would be at the a few. I try to think objectively about this beautiful Rule of Life but freely admit that I am biased for I have come to love what Eugene first shared as he drew on his own experience and not just his – for even as it is done today, he drew in the experiences of the men who walked with him, his first companions and based it on them modelling their life after that of Jesus and his disciples.

    And in it are the dreams and aspirations of those models, the dreams and aspirations of his founding community and then those over the years.

    This is holy ground that we stand on. Yesterday I spent time reading through a couple of documents which honoured the many Oblates who have died as martyrs over the years and so many of those whose lives were taken from them because of their fidelity to their Rule of Life. It was heavy to read and at one point I wanted just to stop because it was painful. I continued on to the end – because it was the only way that I could honour them and their fidelity to the Rule.

    For me personally this Rule of Life is inspired, whispered, and penned by the Holy Spirit within the community. One of the questions posed for a recent course assignment was ‘what do we see as the “glue” that keeps it all together?’ My response was that it was and is the Constitutions and Rules as they are the lived/living expression of the charism of the very spirit, the spirituality of the Mazenodian Family. Look again Eugene at what you began with and how you live on.

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