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Reflection on the life of St Eugene

ST EUGENE DE MAZENOD

“Leave nothing undared for the Kingdom of God”

2015 marks the important dates of the holy man of God, St. Eugene de Mazenod, the Founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate are the founders of St. Benedict’s (1958). The Oblates were founded in 1816. This year I would like to spend some time reflecting with you on the life of this holy man (St. Eugene), his vocation and motivations for founding this Congregation (with some focus on the work of the Oblates especially in South Africa). St. Eugene de Mazenod was born on August 1, 1782, at Aix-en-Provence in France. In his early life he experienced the upheaval of the French revolution. He entered the Seminary of Saint Sulpice, Paris in 1808 and was ordained to the priesthood on December 21st in 1811 at the age of 29 at Amiens, France. Following his ordination to the priesthood he returned to Aix-en-Provence for his pastoral ministry. He died on May 21st 1861. He was beatified by Pope Paul VI in 1975 and canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1995. He is the patron Saint of dysfunctional families.

As I mentioned earlier St. Eugene is the Founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Who are the Oblates? The Oblates are a Roman Catholic religious Congregation of priests and Brothers. We are dedicated to spreading God`s love, compassion and healing in the world through life in the community; at the service of the poor, and abandoned, and in collaboration with men and women of all faiths. When it comes to our missionary work we come in all sizes and stretch-out to all areas of ministries. To name a few: Mission Preaching, Youth Ministry, Parish Ministry, Prison and School Ministries and Formation Ministry with a special interest and Charism to work with the youth.

What is the Charism of the Oblates? The word 'Oblate' comes from the Latin word 'Oblatus' which means “an offering”, “something offered up-“ and therefore “dedicated to” or “set aside for”. The Oblates of Mary Immaculate are a religious congregation of priests and Brothers in the Catholic Church under the patronage of Mary Immaculate. The Oblates are essentially missionaries whose work is to evangelise the poor -especially the most abandoned- (EVANGELIZARE PAUPERIBUS MISIT ME) and to be available for every kind of apostolic work. "Your destiny is to be apostles, and so tend within your hearts the sacred fire that the Holy Spirit lights there..." - Eugene de Mazenod, Nov 17, 1851. We are men “set apart for the Gospel” (Rom1:1), men ready to leave everything to be disciples of Jesus. The desire to co-operate with Him draws us to know Him more deeply, to identify with Him and to let Him live in us. What distinguishes us from other religious Congregations? Our distinctive sign is the Oblate cross. “When we wear a cassock (religious habit), our only distinctive sign is the Oblate cross”. St. Eugene told us to spare no effort to extend the Saviour`s empire and to destroy what is evil in the world.

Fr. Marole OMI