On this day, the Constitutions and Rules of the Missionary Oblates were approved by Pope Leo XII. Eugene de Mazenod was 43 years old at the time. The
small Society, which would henceforth be known as the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, was only 10 years old and had a total of 25 members. Looking at their reality, I wonder what was going through the minds and hearts of these men when they received approval directly from the hands of the Pope.
Shall we take a little trip back in time?
The distance separating the Church of Santa Maria in Campitelli (in Rome) from the palace where the congregation of Cardinals was gathered was only a few steps. The Founder waited anxiously in that beautiful church for the outcome of the deliberation. In the course of the morning he heard nine masses and was determined to wait as long as necessary. The wait for the result lasted into the afternoon, as it seemed that someone had forgotten to tell him that the congregation had concluded their meeting. Perhaps this is how the desire and joy that later overflowed his heart grew in him. In the end, everything went smoothly and the work on the final changes to the Constitutions was successfully completed.
Pope Leo XII confirmed the decision of the Cardinals and approved the Institute.
It was an astonishing event at the time because of the success of all the work. The
The explosion of joy in St. Eugene's heart for the whole family was not long in coming:
“the conclusion we must draw, my dear friends and good brothers, is that we must work with new ardour and with still greater dedication to procure for God all the glory that depends on us, and for the souls of our neighbours salvation by all the means we can; that we must adhere heart and soul to our Rules and practise more exactly what they prescribe”
(To P. Tempier, 18 of february of 1826).
Today, 196 years after this event of grace, what conclusion do we draw from it?
what conclusion do we draw? I imagine the Founder saying to us: rejoice with me, there is no time to lose, we have to work with new ardour, with greater dedication and devotion, with a generosity such as we have never seen before
We have to work with new ardour, with greater dedication and devotion, with a generosity such as we have never seen before... and above all to love, to love always! and to adhere wholeheartedly to the Rules, living faithfully and joyfully.
Our Institute, still small in number, like that of the Oblates in 1826, looks to the future with hope for the immense field that is opening up to us and receives from the hands of the Church the mission to continue the task of evangelisation.
And how to live it today?
Today these words of St. Eugene, which I came across a few days ago, echo in my heart:
“Live for God and for the Church, for the sanctification of these poor unbelievers, for the Congregation that you honour, in response to the good that it has done you by welcoming you into its bosom. Live well united, "cor unum et anima una". Reread unceasingly your holy Rules. You will sanctify yourselves by your fidelity in observing them.”
(To the Oblates of the diocesis of San Bonifacio, 26 of may in 1854).
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Missionary Oblate sisters of Mary Immaculate, is our passport to heaven, as Saint Eugene used to say. We have received a beautiful name, it says it all..... Just by pronouncing it, our hearts are filled with joy, Oblates and Oblate sisters, we belong to Mary.