The scholastics were always referred to as “the Oblates” since 1816, even before the whole Congregation received this name ten years later. In their studies and formation for the priesthood they had been moved around to various places in the 27 years of our existence: Aix en Provence, Laus, Marseilles, and then for a year to Notre Dame de L’Osier.  Now the time had come to give them a more permanent home in Marseilles. Eugene noted this in his dairy.

Letter to Fr. Guigues to summon all the Oblates to Marseille so that they may do all their theological and philosophical studies there.

 Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 1 October 1843, EO XXI

Father Guigues and the local community were upset at this decision because these young scholastics brought life and vitality to the Marian Shrine. It would remain as the novitiate.

Have a little more confidence in the Lord, my dear Father. When the Oblates shall have gone from L’Osier, new novices will be coming to replace them. You realize that it was only circumstantial that they remained at L’Osier last year; that situation could not have been a permanent one. Without any regret I call both the philosophers and the theologians to come here…

All of our Oblates will come to study both their philosophy and their theology at my seminary here in Marseilles. Everything is ready to take them in, let them come as soon as possible.

Letter to Fr. Bruno Guigues, 2 October 1843, EO X n 816

Father Henri Tempier would be their formation director. With his scholastics in his city, Eugene was able to have regular contact with them and share the spirit of his charism and his missionary zeal with them. He continues to do this today for the members of the Mazenodian family as we study his life and writings and imbibe his spirit.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    From the very beginning Eugene had felt the call to start up, to build up seminaries that had been decimated by the Revolution and ongoing governmental interference. He wanted to be able to share his spirit, the charism given to him by the Spirit with the new and younger members of his family. He wanted for priests to have the same depth of formation that he had received from the Sulpicians. And he wanted to get to know better and be close to his newest sons, his children…

    I am reminded of Eugene’s first letter to Henri Tempier, inviting him to join Eugene and others in working together, to share in the same spirit: “Happiness awaits us in this holy Society which will have but one heart and soul…”

    I have the joy and the grace of taking part in the discerning, formation and journeying with some of the new people wanting to learn more and join us in a committed way of being Oblate Associates; their response to God’s call and Eugene’s invitation… I want to share Eugene’s charism, his life, his heart with them and so allow them to know the Founder, our Founder; for them to discover the same way of finding Jesus and his disciples as a model for life that has been shared with me.

    I think of how from the very beginning it has been the Holy Spirit who led Eugene and his closest companions. It is no different today. It is not simply good looks or friendships that determines who the next Superior General will be or who will be called and named as superior, as teacher, who guides and leads us. It is the Holy Spirit who lives within us. It is God.

    There is a great difference from wanting to do things “my way” and being able to “share my experience of God” with all others. We have all had to turn and learn how to “have a little more confidence in the Lord”.

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