Once a decision had been reached, Eugene wrote to the Bishop of Ajaccio to communicate this.

I do not at all retract the promise that I made to support you with all my strength in the great mission that you must fulfil in the diocese that Divine Providence has just entrusted to your care. I have thanked the Lord countless times for having given those people a Chief Pastor like you, for I know how widespread evil is and I also know all that can be expected from your piety, zeal and the care which urges you to respond to your unfortunate flock, so long-abandoned.
The field seems so vast and fertile to me, though covered with thorns, that, if I were still only a simple priest, I would not yield to anyone the honor of going myself to you and helping you to clear it; but what I am not able to do myself, others will do for me.

Letter to Bishop Casanelli d’Istria, 19 September 1834, EO XIII n 83

It was the call of the most abandoned, which continues to motivate the Mazenodian family today:

The call of Jesus Christ, heard within the Church through people’s need for salvation, draws us together as Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Christ thus invites us to follow him and to share in his mission through word and work.

OMI Constitutions and Rules, C 1

This entry was posted in WRITINGS. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Being back with Eugene’s letter to Bishop Casanelli I am somewhat surprised – and I find myself cheating here and going to reread his letter in its entirety. He is responding yes without having first consulted his Oblates; not just to fulfill his own dream of going outside of his small area in France – but in being open to what life in the Spirit offers us. In all its struggle and untidiness.

    I am reminded of Fr. Albert Lacombe OMI who when he met Bishop Taché and asked to join the Oblates was told yes; he was promised that when they left from Quebec to return to the west his first year would be as a novice to study and learn. However when they arrived in Manitoba an entirely new need presented itself to the Bishop who then asked (gave an obedience to) Albert to head even further west to replace another and putting his own dreams on-hold for a while. That he already had a year’s experience as a missionary priest was a grace. At times the thorns in the field must have seemed almost insurmountable to Albert, yet he navigated them, pulled them up or worked through and over them. He was not able to follow the normal order of things as he responded to God and the needs he was being faced with.

    As I sit here this morning with all of this going through my mind I am struck suddenly with the immense beauty and grace of our Rule of Life. Yesterday writing and sitting with Constitution 8 and then today back with Constitution 1. Not in the order as they are laid out in our little books but as they are lived with our invitation and call from God, from Jesus, from Eugene and each other. I draw from this for my course work on Albert Lacombe. They are intertwined in and with each other. I spoke about this last week using the infinity symbol as an image; the infinity symbol being a flow in and through and with. At the heart of Eugene and our lives as members of the Mazenodian Family there is the Rule of Life which is nothing less than the embodiment, the incarnation of the gift of the Charism given to Eugene and all of us. Timeless and always relevant. I draw from this as did Eugene.

Leave a Reply

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