The busy Bishop of Marseilles was constantly interrupted and had to struggle to make time to do what he loved the most: communicate with the members of his Oblate family. He was particularly concerned about the welfare of the younger Oblates as they began their ministry.

Father Joseph Arnoux had been ordained four months earlier by Eugene, who fondly recognized his good qualities. He was to prove himself as a dedicated missionary in France, and later in the Anglo Irish Province.

I am grateful to you, my good and dear Father Arnoux, for having excused my silence and for having given me again the consolation of receiving another of your letters before I could answer yours. Overburdened by debts like that I owe you, I closeted myself in today while all the others are at Vespers, and for two hours I have been writing at my ease to the four corners of the globe. I resolved not to postpone yours to another day because you are near and it appears easier to accomplish at such a short distance. Experience proves that I often depend on my good will as an excuse, and that I expose my children who are waiting for an answer to the temptation of accusing me of negligence. You are not capable of such injustice. I must only be more eager to give you evidence of my thanks for your good remembrance and of my tender affection for you.

Letter to Fr. Joseph Arnoux, 20 August 1848, EO X n 985


Eugene, who considered himself the father of his religious family wrote: “A father’s communication with his many children… that is one of the most agreeable occupations of my life.” Through his letters he expressed what Russell M. Nelson described:

“No, we don’t own our children. Our parental privilege is to love them, to lead them, and to let them go.”

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Lay Oblate Associate says:

    Yesterday I returned home from Easter Sunday Mass and lay down; sleeping off and on until this morning. It now that I join all of you that I wish for you a joy-filled Easter.

    Eugene’s love for one of his sons in the moment that he wrote to him is not confined just to one but to all of his family then and now for all of us who are his sons and daughters. This dear man whose heart was as big as the world was capable of loving so many; and continues today, as he lovingly gathers us together and then sends us out. It is not a way of walking away,. rather it is coming together. We are never abandoned. Eugene is a Founder and an “Elder”.

    I see in him in terms of the Indigenous people a “Grandfathers” and “Grandmothers”. (As seen in the light of our Indigenous Elders) and who we can learn so much from as they bless us.

    At the Easter Vigil – I became a God-parent and Grandmother to one who has journeyed with one in the RCIA. All of the Candidates were/are incredible witnesses to the love and grace of God. We learn along with them how to love ever-more deeply as we join them in their journey – for they are the each Grace from God…

    It is from St. Eugene de Mazenod that I learned how to lovingly serve God and others and serve in the light of God, becoming a loving servant who through the Oblate Constitutions and Rules and gives my all as I am asked. God breathes us into life and breathes us out to life. It is a continuous flow of love within each of us and all whom we meet.

    I give thanks for all those God has sent to me, and as we journey together of hope in communion: an unending flow of love which becomes deeper and shows each of us the way God has created us to be.

    This morning I sing out the Gloria with all of you as we meet in the heart of our crucified and resurrected Saviour. I bring with me the hearts of those friends that I have met and will continue to meet whether they are members of the Oblate/Mazenodian Family. They have already become witnesses to love of God that continues to deepen within me, so that they too will recognise the Lord who has calledall of us to taste the sweetness of God’s love.

    There are no boundaries within the heart of Jesus – his heart, his being is always able to hold all of us.

    Happy Easter.

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