What you tell me of Father Coste gives me great pleasure. Please take good care of this young man who will be one of our resources for missions in the Provençal language.

Father Joseph-Marie Coste, grew up in Marseilles and was thus fluent in the Provencal language – which was the language used by the Oblates in the south of France to preach parish missions.

I insist much that you give him a good education, so that we may get out of the sterile abundance of all these lazy people who find it easier to undermine their reputation and ours than to take the trouble to study.

Letter to Fr Hippolyte Courtès in Aix en Provence, 24 July 1847, EO X n 933


Eugene could never complain about the missionary zeal of his Oblates – but he worried that this zealous activity got in the way of study and proper preparation of sermon material. Here he expresses his disappointment at their laziness regarding ongoing studies which resulted in poor sermon content and reflected badly on the Oblate family.

The same holds true today for all in the Mazenodian Family. If we do not pray and prepare our activities with reading and reflection, our message suffers and our groups are impoverished in their knowledge of God.

“Solitude is very different from a ‘time-out’ from our busy lives. Solitude is the very ground from which community grows. Whenever we pray alone, study, read, write, or simply spend quiet time away from the places where we interact with each other directly, we are potentially opened for a deeper intimacy with each other.”   (Henri Nouwen)

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Lay Oblate says:

    I have sat with this for awhile – not because I disagreed but because I was concentrating on what I might write. And suddenly I realised what I was “doing”. Simply writing or looking for a few catchy phrases does not do anything to invite myself and others to go deeper.

    A light is has entered a darkness and I am reminded of a well learned lesson of “Be in order to Do”.

    How could I forget that? How have I become so distracted by some health problems and what I no longer seem to be able to do? What about “going deeper” as I sit in God’s presence that is always here and now – more than a feeling, rather a sense of being.

    Last night I had my first session as I joined with others in the Pastoral Care Formation course. I met new people coming from a wide variety of Christian Churches and who introduced themselves and why they were there. All of us want to deepen our “quality of presence. Many of us want to go deeper in developing our sense of presence with those that we currently walk with as “pilgrims of hope in communion” and others who are actively discerning God’s call to them.

    A light goes on and the heavens sing – God is not done with me yet, and neither is Eugene. There is great triumph somehow in how I join the heavens in song, great joy in realising I am still standing in the light and immense gratitude to God for all that I am given and all that I am being led to share.

    Alleluia! And thank you Frank for continuing to invites to walk with you, with St. Eugene and all of his sons and daughters. Once again I begin look at the fullness of God’s love as we all journey together.

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