How has Divine Providence used me to further God’s work?

Just at the time that an English-speaking Oblate was urgently needed in Canada to minister to the large Irish population of Bytown, Eugene wrote: ” Providence who watches over our needs has furnished precisely the man who has been demanded so urgently.” He was the 41 year-old novice, Michael Molloy, born in Ireland.

Eugene had to write to the Vatican to ask for a dispensation to cut short his novitiate by six months. He noted in his diary:

The letter from Cardinal Ostini is very friendly. He tells me that our Holy Father the Pope has very willingly granted the requested dispensation and that he gives his apostolic blessing to everyone.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 6 February 1845, EO XXI

Eugene then wrote to the novice-master

I would be very happy to see him make his profession on the feast of the Patronage of St. Joseph. I do not need to recommend that you take good care of this dear Brother Molloy, so that he will be imbued with the spirit of our Society and that he will arrive at his destination so well formed as if he had spent ten years with us. I expect this result from the good will of your zeal.

Letter to Father Jacques Santoni, Novice Master, 18 March 1845, EO X n 867

Then to the Superior of L’Osier, where Brother Molloy had been sent:

I have written to the Bishop of Viviers that we would be sending Brother Molloy to him at the time of ordination for the tonsure, minor orders, and the subdiaconate. I will ordain him deacon at my ordination time at the end of June, and I will ordain him a priest fifteen days later so that he can set sail as soon as possible. If Divine Providence had not sent us this worthy fellow, we would have had to pull up stakes at Bytown, literally. May God grant that he not arrive there too late.

Letter to Father Ambroise Vincens at Notre-Dame L’Osier, 17 April 1845, EO X n 871

Nothing is said about theological studies! Despite the rushed formation, Father Molloy arrived in Bytown in 1845 and remained attached to the Ottawa Cathedral for the next 45 years where he did zealous ministry among the most abandoned until his death. (See

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Lay Oblate says:

    Wow – talk about fast-tracking! There is no argument as to the kind of man Molloy was, but it raises questions and small little red flags in my mind. I realise I must get past it, let go of it otherwise it will over-take me.

    “How has Divine Providence used me to further God’s work?”

    How have I served God? My Church? My Oblate family?

    Some years ago, during a retreat I experienced God speaking to me… As I walked and reflected, I kept hearing the word “Come” over and over in my mind. Come where Lord? I asked but heard only that one word “come”. From morning into the afternoon I heard it and I was filled with a restlessness and unnamed yearning. Out of frustration I entered the near-by Oblate cemetery which had a small cement altar with a crucifix standing on it. I sat on the small lip of the pedestal it all stood on.

    And the word became silent – as I sat at the foot of the cross. “Here I am Lord. Is it I Lord? I will go, Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart.” (from Isaiah 6).

    All, or most of what I have done has been wrapped in love and perhaps it is that which has led to transformation – of myself and some of the people I know and touch – those who I serve in the smallest of ways. Asked or sent, I says yes.

    I have served in doing the small things, that few will see or desire to do. I accompany others on their paths, sometimes sweeping away the sharp pebbles, picking up fallen branches and inviting them back from their distractions. Small sacrifices of love when I am tired, or myself feeling empty and dark. I am at the service of my God, my church, my family and the many poor around me. Helping to make God’s work possible.

    The word that comes to me is “oblation” – a gift of myself in response to what I have been given.

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