© Laurent Girard / Studio Mazenod (2011) – Tableau du Jean-Jacques Martin

1837 – nomination as Bishop of Marseille, the second-largest city of France

Here I am in fact pastor and chief pastor of a diocese which, whatever one says of it, is not inhabited by saints. It was given me, I would not have chosen it. However, I must attach myself to this people as a father to his children. My existence, my life, all my being must be consecrated to it, I must have no thought but for its good, no fears other than I have not done enough for its welfare and sanctification, no other solicitude than that which must include all its spiritual interests and even in a certain way its temporal welfare. I must in a word consume myself for it, be ready to sacrifice my leisure, my desire, rest, life itself for it.

Retreat in preparation for taking possession of the Diocese of Marseille,
May 1837, O.W. XV n.185

From the first day I can be canonically instituted, that is to say, placed by Jesus Christ to watch over the fold, charged to instruct it, feed it, edify it … to become pastor and father, invested with the very authority of Jesus Christ whom I must represent in the midst of that portion of his flock that will become thus my own flock for which I shall have to render an account to the Sovereign Pastor of our souls who will have given them to me to save them in sacrificing myself for them.

Retreat in preparation for taking possession of the Diocese of Marseille,
May 1837, O.W. XV n.185



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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Lay Oblate says:

    “I have always singularly dreaded that kind of responsibility, even in the lower order of the priesthood. That is why, upon entering the ecclesiastical state, I undertook to be a missionary; nothing could have made me decide to become a parish priest. In agreeing to be a bishop I remained consistent, since I wished to be a bishop in partibus, which gave me the double advantage of not having any responsibility or care for a diocese and, at the same time, being in a position to do greater good for the Church in virtue of the consecrated character invested in me…”(Hubenig’s Living in the Spirit’s Fire from the sane retreat notes.)

    In this morning’s Gospel Jesus says: “Feed my lambs” and then a little further on “Tend my sheep”, a third time “Feed my sheep” and lastly “Follow me”. My thoughts to Jesus with each step he took on the way to Calvary, with each moment as he was nailed to the cross and each breath that he struggled to take as he hung on that cross.

    We witness Eugene’s “Yes” to God, the struggle as he courageously accepts the grace to walk with God in yet another way, being asked to give “everything”.

    We are invited to look deeper within ourselves: not with view to measuring, but rather to enlarging the space of hearts with each breath we take; just as Jesus and Eugene did. Let me not get so caught up in what I am doing, that I stop breathing and moving forward.

    St. Eugene, priest, Founder, Bishop… “Eugene embraced the Cross and was led to adopt the mission of Jesus as his own.” (A Tale of two Icons) Is this not what each of us is invited to as we make and live our Oblation as members of the Mazenodian Oblate Family?

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