The first Oblate to be appointed bishop after Eugene was Hippolyte Guibert, who was present at the General Chapter. He was bishop of the diocese of Viviers. Eugene wrote about him:

The bishop of Viviers has edified everyone by the touching expression of truly apostolic sentiments which animate him. He appeared to everyone just as I knew him; no one could know how to describe the impression his words made when, in a short speech inspired by his heart, he protested before God and before me, who was the witness and the confidant of all his thoughts, that if it had been necessary for him to choose between the episcopacy, which had been imposed on him by obedience, and the congregation, which it had been necessary for him to leave, he would not have hesitated an instant for the latter, in the bosom of which he wanted to live and die.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 13 July 1843, EO XXI

Bishop Guibert remained a confidant of the Founder throughout his life.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I ask myself if Guibert would have been name a bishop had he not been an Oblate, if he was simply another diocesan priest. Not because a diocesan priest is any less than a religious priest, but I do believe that we only grow as persons, as humans, Christians, and saints when we say yes to where God has called us to be.

    Eugene himself was in this position; God had called him to be priest, Founder of the Congregation of Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Bishop of Marseilles and to give birth to this beautiful Mazenodian family. Is this not how it is for those of us who are called and live as Oblate Associates within the Mazenodian Family? None of us is better than any other, but we rejoice and give thanks for how God has called us to be, where we have been led to be. Not a matter of being proud, but rather being grateful to serve as we have been called and chosen to be by God and with Eugene.

    Eugene knew this to be true of himself and so entirely possible for his sons and daughters. As children we stand in the light of our parents sharing in who they are and then hopefully from that growing into becoming our own selves, in the world, in the Church and in God. We do not shuck off our parents or family, but rather gather them into our hearts and carry them as a part of ourselves through life.

    This is one of the many ways we share our own experiences of God and is this not what each of us have been called to?

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