St. Eugene wrote to the Bishop of Montreal to thank him for the warm and fatherly welcome he had given to the newly-arrived Oblates.

Their letters prove to me that they know and appreciate the sentiments you manifest to them and that in return, they are, amongst your priests, the most devoted and the most attached to your revered person.

The welcome given to the Oblates helped them to settle down smoothly. Eugene was particularly concerned about Father Honorat, the superior of the group, who had accepted this mission out of obedience to Eugene and not out of choice.

Apparently the protection and the kindnesses with which you honour them make everything worthwhile for Father Honorat finds nothing hard or difficult. Even the climate, so unlike ours, is not disagreeable to him. It could be said that they have not made any sacrifice in leaving their native land. Yet this good Father Honorat was not attracted like the others to this far-off mission and, while he did not raise objections, I really believed he sacrificed himself by obedience in an admirably supernatural manner because he understood that such was the desire of his superior.

As a matter of fact, he is a man of eminent virtue. He would wish that I add another two members to his little colony, and I would ask nothing better if the glory of God is at stake and the greater good of souls.

Letter to Bishop Bourget, Bishop of Montreal, 13 April 1842 EO I n 11

Father Honorat showed his strength of character and missionary zeal in the way he sacrificed his personal preferences for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. A good example for us today as we are surrounded by “me first” and relativism.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Obedience – a value which we treasure and use as a gift; which frees us to grow.

    When we offer ourselves in oblation – to God, to the Church, to our congregation, our superiors… it is with the supreme trust that this is where God is calling us to be at a given moment in time. In obedience we allow ourselves to be used by God as God wills. And I think for a moment of Blessed Joseph Gerard who in the light of seeming failure remained steadfast and obedient and how God used him “to draw all men to God’s self”. (Jn 12:32)

    I find within me this morning a new understanding of the vows and commitments that we make as members of the Mazenodian Family. I look at the Oblate Rule of Life. “Our mission requires that, in a radical way, we follow Jesus who was chaste and poor and who redeemed mankind by his obedience. That is why, through a gift of the Father, we choose the way of evangelical counsels. Community is the life-giving reality fashioned by the vows which binds us in love to the Lord and to his people. Thus, we become a living cell in the Church in which we strive together to bring the grace of our Baptism to its fullness.” (C. 12) “…He became obedient unto death, even death on the cross (Phil 2:8). Called to follow Jesus, we too listen attentively for the Father’s voice so that we may spend ourselves without reserve to accomplish his plan of salvation.” (C. 25)

    Living the freedom of the Gospel – “by obedience we become the servants of all. …obedience is our way of making real the freedom of the Gospel, in common submission to God’s will (cf. Gal 5:13).” (C. 25)

    It may look different within each one of us as to how we live this out, but it is simply another foundation and pillar of who we are as members of the Mazenodian Family.

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