Throughout the missionary history of the Oblates we invariably find religious Sisters somewhere in the picture, rendering selfless missionary service according to their charism: catechists, school teachers, nurses and generous cooperators in whatever was necessary for the success of the missions.

Eugene gratefully acknowledged the importance of the various congregations of Sisters throughout his life. Here we find one example as he acknowledged the service of the Sisters to the Canadian Oblates in ministry, but especially in caring for the men who had fallen ill as a result of the typhus epidemic. He gave them a full share in the spiritual benefits of the Oblate Family – which today we refer to as “Honorary Oblates” (HOMI)

Although the laws of Christian charity make it a duty for us to pray to God on behalf of all, we nevertheless believe ourselves more strictly obliged to do so in regard to the persons to whom we are indebted for spiritual and temporal services rendered to the members of our Congregation. Wherefore, Sisters, on learning of the charity and indefatigable zeal that you have exercised towards the Oblates of Mary Immaculate established in Canada, we wish to give you a solemn and lasting witness of our gratitude. So, confiding ourselves to divine mercy and to the powerful intercession of the Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin Mary, our patroness, by the authority which God has given us, in spite of our unworthiness, we grant you for ever a full and entire communion in all the holy Masses, prayers, penances and of all works of piety and zeal which by the grace of God are performed and will be performed in future in the various houses of our Institute as much in America as in other parts of the world, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

We beg that it be the will of Our Lord Jesus Christ to ratify in Heaven this promise and engagement in order that, He, compensating for our unworthiness from the inexhaustible treasure of His merits, may heap upon you, Sisters, every grace and heavenly blessing in this life and reward you hereafter with the crown of a glorious eternity.

Given at Marseilles under our sign, the seal of our arms and the countersign of the secretary of the Congregation, the 24th of May, 1848.

+ C. J. Eugene, bishop of Marseilles, S.G.

To the Religious Sisters of the Hotel-Dieu of Montreal known as the Sisters of Saint Joseph, EO I n. 98

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Lay Oblate Associate says:

    I sit here thinking of a few of the Honorary Oblates that I have met and know(n) – their lives of love and service to all they meet. They play and have played a significant role in my life and in the lives of all they have met. I find myself smiling as their images pass before the eyes of my heart. And I picture them on that painting of Eugene leading people up that stairway and being followed by religious and members of the laity. They are a gift to all of us who they have touched, loved and shared with.

    Mea culpa: There was a period of my life, not so far back, when I signed off my daily reflections here by calling myself a Lay Oblate. When it was pointed out to me that the title I had given to myself was reserved for Honorary Oblates I eventually backed off. Yet inside myself I still wish to be a “lay Oblate”, it still seems to be who I am. I guess I still want to be recognized… And still I strive to walk in the footsteps of St. Eugene, Albert Lacombe, Kay Cronin HOMI and so many others…

    Sitting here soft tears well up from my heart, for truth be told what I yearn for is to give all of myself to God as a member of this Oblate/Mazenodian Family – not just to other members but also to those who I know and love and all who live on the edges of life. I yearn for communion with God and with all, sharing who I am as I continue to try to walk in the footsteps of St. Eugene, in a very specific way of life.

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