February 26:  I was told that during the night there were some gatherings, and that a mob of people ran through the streets singing the Marseillaise. Not a soul passed down the street of the bishop’s house. It was not like this in 1830.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 25 February 1848, EO XXI

Hubenig explains:

The largely anticlerical and wealthy bourgeoisie – the same class that gave the Eugene de Mazenod and the first Oblates so much trouble in their parochial missions, had promoted the 1830 July Revolution. It is understandable then, why the upheaval at that time impacted almost as hard against the Church as it did against the deposed Restoration monarchy. After 1830 Louis-Philippe had tried to smooth out relations with the Church but his conciliation was short-lived and soon soured – to the degree that by 1848 religion had become openly divorced from the political regime. Thus, when the 1848 Revolution came, it was not anti-clerical as its predecessor had been and the Church rode out the storm with relative calm. Indeed, with Louis-Philippe’s overthrow, a large segment of the Church entered into an exciting era of liberal Catholicism…

Initially, the Church even joined in what appeared to be a springtime of the French people – a meeting of the gospel spirit with the spirit of revolution. For several weeks at the outset, Jesus Christ and his Gospel were the driving force for most of the ideologies involved. Priests and bishops happily blessed the trees of liberty which euphoric citizens planted .

(Living in the Spirit’s Fire excerpts from pages 161 – 169).


“To avoid the anxieties which may be caused by either regret for the past or fear of the future, here in a few words is the rule to follow: the past must be left to God’s measureless mercy, the future to his loving providence; and the present must be given wholly to his love through fidelity to his grace.”

Jean Pierre de Caussade

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1 Response to THE REVOLUTION OF 1848

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Lay Oblate says:

    Some of Eugene’s words gave me pause this morning and I googled them. Words such as “euphoric” and “liberal”.

    I think of the importance of not trying to tie myself to the past, nor dream of the future only because I need to live in the present if I am to be fully alive. This morning I find myself silently singing the Gloria – over and over again. I love to praise God, especially in song. No it is not an earworm, it is just being present to the Spirit’s way of being with me, and I with her.

    It is in the present moments that I experience God. The past as been empty and unforgiving, and the future – who knows what it will be like. The present is where I find God – in stopping to look at an African Violet which has again begun to sprout flower buds, or a sunset through which God kisses us goodnight. On their own they are beautiful, but experiencing them in the present is a transformative moment that touches our hearts and changes us forever.

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