Feast of Saint Eugene de Mazenod, May 21st A saint for our times and our age – by Mary Tyrrell
St. Eugene – a saint for our times and our age
Happy Feast Day to all involved with the Oblate Mission!!! And yes, that is everyone who is involved with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate all over the world.
Little did Eugene de Mazenod know when he gathered a small group of like-minded men in Aix-en-Provence in 1816 that his movement would grow and influence so many people: priests, religious brothers and sisters as well as Oblate people: men, women, young and more mature, all over the world.
I wonder what St Eugene would make of it all now?
At Eugene’s canonisation in December 1995, Saint John Paul II said of him: “His influence is not limited to the age in which he lived, but continues its effect on our time… What Saint Eugene wanted to achieve was that, in Christ, each individual could become a fully complete person, an authentic Christian, a credible saint.”
It is a fact that though St. Eugene is not the world’s most well known saint, a growing number of people look to him to discover a way to live as faith-filled witnesses of the Gospel today. They draw inspiration from Eugene’s life and his dedication to reach out to those on the margins of the Church and society.
At many levels St. Eugene is a saint for our times and our age.
There are many situations in Eugene’s life that are still reflected in the world today.
Let’s have a quick recap of some of the issues that Eugene faced that are still prevalent in today’s society.
- He is the first saint whose parents were divorced.
- Eugene, as a young boy, was a refugee and relied entirely on the goodness of strangers. His country was devastated and life changed for everyone, regardless of class, after the French revolution.
- There were significant problems with the Church, faith and religious practice.
Things don’t seem to have changed much in the last almost 170 years, do they? Divorce, refugees and asylum seekers, the aftermath of Covid and the Church issues are still current problems.
In a recent letter to the Congregation, St. Eugene’s successor Fr Louis Lougen, the Superior General of the Congregation, wrote, ”I ask you to pray and work for vocations. Don’t miss the opportunity to invite others to live the Oblate Charism. We pray to Mary Immaculate to deepen within us the capacity to invite and accompany vocations to Oblate life and to the many ways of life associated with the charism.”
And, if you are reading this, then you too, are associated in some way with the charism or, as we understand it, Oblate attitudes and aspirations. We each have our own particular vocation but we also have a vocation that we share as Oblate people who respect and support those on the margins of church and society. We do this by supporting each other in friendship, praying for each other’s needs and the world while seeking ways to serve the needs of our local areas and so further the Reign of God.
With the growing numbers of people following in St Eugene‘s footsteps, the Oblate General Council has called an Oblate Lay Associates Congress to take place in 2022, bringing together Oblate people from all over the world. And, though we will have official Provincial delegates at the Congress, you are all invited to take part as it will be live streamed from Rome to everyone who wants to be involved. Men and women from all over the world will unite to share their experience of being involved with the Oblate Mission as a parishioner, MAMI, Friend of St Eugene or Associate or through involvement with the Lourdes Pilgrimage (for Oblate people in the UK and Ireland).
There will be regular updates on the website (oblates.ie) as more information becomes available.
We pray for all involved in the Oblate Mission.
- For Fr Oliver Barry and all Oblate priests and brothers in our Province and worldwide.
- For more young men and women to be inspired to continue the task of St Eugene spreading the Gospel all over the world.
- For all those who share the dream of St Eugene.
God of joyful hope and faithful love; you call each of us to share fully in the mission of your Son. In this time of great promise and change inspire us to be witnesses to the power and presence of Jesus. May we love and respect all you have created and be disciples of your Good News by fulfilling our vocation as Oblate priests and brothers or by living a truly Oblate inspired life. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
|– Mary Tyrell
Oblate Partners in Mission Team
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