Sending Oblates to the foreign missions and maintaining them, especially in the poorest rural regions, required funds. Each year Bishop Eugene had to write to Rome and to the French Propagation of the Faith asking for grants.

Dear Sirs,

Since some of our missionaries are about to leave for the missions which our Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate has founded in North America … That same period will also mark the departure of a group of four of our missionaries I have placed at the disposal of Bishop Bettachini, the coadjutor of the Apostolic Vicar of Ceylon. During the few days he spent in Marseilles, when I had a number of conversations with him, this prelate painted such a picture of the deplorable state of the religion in that island that I was unable to refuse coming to his aid despite the needs of the other foreign missions entrusted to our Congregation. …

I recognize the fact that we cannot claim a large grant in light of the requests already advanced this year by our Congregation for its missions in America and England. Therefore we will restrict ourselves to what is strictly necessary for our mission in Ceylon; the travelling expenses of the four missionaries and the initial settlement and support costs. That will require at least 12000 francs.

To the Members of the Central Council of Southern France for the Missionary Society of the Propagation of the Faith, Lyon, 14 August 1847, EO V, n106

When they delayed in responding, Eugene feared that he would not have the money to be able to send the 4 missionaries to Ceylon and would have to cancel the project. Two months later he wrote again:

Dear Sirs,

I awaited your response to my letter of September 15 last with a sort of anxiety. In effect, I saw the day arrive when it would be necessary to decide on the departure of our missionaries for Ceylon and I still had no assurance of finding the means to send them to their destination…

Gentlemen, this gives you an idea of the distressing state from which I was rescued by the reception of your letter of October 4th and the draft for 3 000 francs it contained.

Letter to the Members of the Central Council for Southern France, of the Missionary Society of the Propagation of the Faith, Lyon, 14 October 1847, EO V n 109


“I’ve heard people say, “I want more of a heart for missions.” I always respond, “Jesus tells you exactly how to get it. Put your money in missions – and in your church and the poor – and your heart will follow.” (Randy Alcorn)

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1 Response to NO MONEY, NO MISSION

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Lay Oblate says:

    Eugene was not a stranger in having to ask for money so that he could continue responding to the Lord’s call. It did not matter if it was in buying bread for those in prison, finding the money to help rebuild the Church and her churches in Aix and Marseilles, feeding the Irish immigrants who came to France hoping to be able to feed their families, or being able to offer formation to the young men joining his congregation, only to send them throughout France, and to different parts of the world.

    Sadly, today people seem to suffer from the same afflictions and vulnerabilities as were seen in Eugene’s, time. He had to worry about the money and structures needed for the young men coming to join he family, their care and formation and then to be able to send them to the rest of the world: to share their experiences of God as they endeavored to care for themselves and those they were sent to care for.

    Today we are invited to reflect on our own oblation and how we share in the charism as sons and daughters of Eugene de Mazenod. We are invited to reflect on how God provides for us so as to ensure that our needs are covered. It is about money, but most importantly it is about how we are loved and so share that with all who we meet.

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