Leonard Baveux was a 47 year-old Sulpician priest ordained in 1828. His meeting with the Oblates in Montreal led him to discover that he was called to missionary life and he joined them. On August 2 he had made his lifetime commitment through his perpetual oblation, and he had written to Eugene about it. Eugene noted this in his Diary:

Letter from Father Léonard the day following his profession. He proclaims, with the most touching expression, the happiness which he experienced. The bishop of Montreal addressed a very paternal discourse to him; the bishop of Kingston was also present at this wonderful ceremony. The chapel was filled with friends and parish priests. A Jesuit Father was also present. The tears of our Father Léonard made them flow from the eyes of all those present.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 19 September 1843, EO XXI

Then, in a letter to the Bishop of Montreal, Eugene referred to the Bishop’s role in the oblation ceremony.

I have just received a letter from the good Father Leonard. He wrote it to me the day after his profession. Oh, what a consolation it gave me to hear about everything that happened on that beautiful morning. It seems that the Holy Spirit poured the anointing of his generous gifts on the new Oblate. I can judge it from the letter of this fervent religious.

But, Bishop, after having testified my gratitude to the Lord, I cannot stop from expressing to you how touched I am by your fatherly concern for my dear children who are certainly yours. The words you address to them in these circumstances, proving to them how good you are to them, do them incalculable good. How happy they are to have a father like you! I am therefore not worried about them being so far away from me. It is just as if I were with them.

Letter to Bishop Bourget of Montreal, 1 October 1843, EO I n 26

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    What a special occasion this must have been for Eugene de Mazenod; to welcome into the institute and family a Sulpician, who had come to Canada from France as a missionary in 1828-1829 and who later had the opportunity to work for Forbin-Janson, bishop of Nancy who had come to Canada on a preaching tour. Connections…

    Following Forbin-Janson’s tour of Canada, Eugene’s Oblates arrived in Canada in 1841. Baveux knew of the Oblates and in the summer of 1842 Léonard Baveux became an Oblate novice and a year later, in 1843 he made his Oblation in Longueuil, Quebec.
    It is a joyous surprise this morning to learn of this; not that it was a secret, but it was a new discovery for me.

    It is striking evidence of how the Holy Spirit works within all of us. I am reminded of the very first female Honorary Oblate in the Congregation in 1972; Kay Cronin, HOMI. She befriended me when I was just out of high school and during my time on the streets of Vancouver when I was lost in fog of drugs, alcohol, and crime. Dying in 1975, our friendship was renewed at the turn of this century when the Oblates once again became a part of my life – this time in a deeper and more reciprocal way. Was Eugene aware of this when he invited me to become a part of his family, when he witnessed my first commitment as an Oblate Associate; as the “Holy Spirit poured out abundantly on the new Oblate [Associate] the anointing of its generous gifts”.

    Every day the Lord speaks to me; I hear the Beloved’s whisper as I begin and end my days “see how I love you”. For it has come to pass that I recognize God in all of creation; in the universe, in nature, in our world and all her peoples, past, present and yet to come.

    Our oblation, like love, is a living thing, a way of being which then carries over into our doing. This is how we live out the generous gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit. I can help but rejoice and give thanks as I echo Eugene’s words “it is just as if I were with [you]”. And he is…

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