When he arrived at Dublin on August 8, Father Aubert was cordially received by the Archbishop and the city’s mayor, Daniel O’Connell. The latter showed interest in the spirit of the Oblates and promised to protect an Oblate foundation. On their part, the Bishops allowed recruiting.

Eugene wrote in his Diary:

There is not anyone up to the great O’Connell who does not wish to contribute towards it. He wants to be the first subscriber and he authorized Fr. Aubert to use his name in the prospectus for sending to him the offerings that will be made to us. He wanted to be affiliated with our society and he received the scapular from it.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 20 September 1842, EO XXI

To Father Aubert himself, Eugene wrote:

I want to use the remaining blank space to congratulate you on your conquest. What you tell me about the excellent O’Connell keenly interests me. He is a valuable patron…

Later, we will be able to do more than give him the scapular. When he really will have benefited you, I can give him a canonical share in the works and merits of the Congregation, as I have just done for the benefactors in Canada.

It remains for me to urge you to write more often, at least once a month.

Letter to Fr Casimir Aubert, 26 September 1842, EO III n 2

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    How wonderful it is to see the early desire for involvement from the laity with the Oblates – in this case as patrons but also as forerunner of the young people who volunteer and get involved in helping with the ministry at Lourdes.

    “Later, we will be able to do more than give him the scapular.” And Eugene goes on to speak to those perhaps who will be named as Honorary Oblates as we know them today. I am reminded of the much earlier practice of those who would attach themselves to a particular monastery but continue to live as laity. I remember learning about them in the Oblate Studies program.

    Today we have those who like me are called Oblate Associates and who make a commitment to the Oblates and to a specific way of life with them and within the Church. I am reminded that we are more than just a result of a post Vatican II phenomenon; we take our part within the Church with many who have gone before us. And while we do not necessarily look the same, we take our place as we have been called, and I am reminded of Rule 37a which states: “The charism of Saint Eugene de Mazenod is a gift of the Spirit to the Church, and it radiates throughout the world. Lay people recognize that they are called to share in the charism according to their state of life, and to live it in ways that vary according to milieu and cultures.”

    It is humbling to recognize and realise the gift of how the Spirit moves within us, call us to be a particular part of life within her. This morning as the sun rose I witnessed what looked like a brilliant fire in the windows of a few of the buildings I could see from my window. That spectre lasted for maybe a minute and then slowly faded. It took only another minute as the sun rose higher in the sky to bring colours to the windows of many of the buildings downtown, the hues somewhat muted because of the clouds. I, we, are humbled to be a part of this Mazenodian Family, to take our place and walk with – not eclipse any others. I think of Albert Lacombe and so many others here in Canada who shone a particular light on us and who continue to do so.

    A blessing, just as was Casimir Aubert and those he walked with in Ireland.

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