Writing to the benefactors who had been so generous to the Oblate missionaries in Canada, Eugene wrote to express his gratitude. A gratitude not expressed only in words, but in the action of making them Associates in all the spiritual benefits of the Oblates – as is expressed in making persons “Honorary Oblates.”

To Monsieur and Madame Olivier Berthelet,

Greeting and benediction in Our Lord Jesus Christ!

Your piety has inspired you, for the sake of your souls, with the desire to request that we admit you into communication of the good works of our Congregation. This request is all the more agreeable to us in that we know how much this Congregation is indebted to you for the gift your pious charity has made to her of the beautiful place where those of our members who have gone to evangelise Canada will have their dwelling in the diocese of Montreal. By your generosity, you are taking a great part in the good to be done in this country and you have acquired a right to our just gratitude.

So it is wholeheartedly that in virtue of the authority invested in us by the Holy See as Superior General of the said Congregation we grant you in Jesus Christ participation in the merits of the sacrifices, prayers, fasts and generally in all good works and pious exercises, both spiritual and corporal which, by the grace of God, take place in this Congregation, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Moreover we pray God the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ to deign to ratify and confirm in Heaven this spiritual concession, the while we implore Him to make good our poverty from the inexhaustible riches of the treasure of the merits of His Son, also to heap you with graces and blessings in this life and finally to reward you with the crown of eternal glory.

Given at Marseilles under our sign, the seal of our arms and the countersign of the secretary of the Congregation on the 25th of September, 1842.

+ C. J. Eugene, Bishop of Marseilles.

By mandate of Monseigneur, our most Reverend Father, Tempier, first assistant.

Letter to Mr. and Mrs. Olivier Berthelet at Montreal, 25 September 1842, EO I n 13

In our Mazenodian Family we find this reality continued today.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I can only imagine how heart-warming the request from the Berthelets must have been for Eugene. His spirit – his charism being carried all the way to the new world and being lived, so much so that the Berthelets (and I imagine many more) saw their goodness and felt called and wanted to take part in that way of being and living, to share their goods and what they had with the Oblates. Is that not exactly we Associates ask of the Oblates as we begin our journey of discernment?

    We all want the same thing whether we can put it into words and vocalize it or not. We want to make a gift of ourselves to God whether it be as religious or as laity. We make our oblation even if we are not fully familiar with that word for it is our hearts that speak to us, our hearts which respond to God’s call.

    I remember learning how in the middle ages some lay people who attached themselves to various monasteries, not to become priests or monks, or sisters, but to live as laity closely associated with the charism of that monastery. Were they called mendicants?

    We are not a new phenomenon, but rather we are following in the footsteps of so many who have come before us. I am reminded of Sandra Prather (HOMI and Oblate Associate) saying: “Give us a portion of your spirit”. This is where and who we are called to be as Oblate Associates, sharing in the Mazenodian spirit – first shared by St. Eugene de Mazenod. Give us a portion of your spirit and we will give you a portion of ours. This is our shared and lived reality as members of the Mazenodian Family.

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