January 14, 2016
The Inspiration for a Missionary Community
The community born on January 25, 1816 is the fruit of an inspiration received from God. That is how Saint Eugene describes its origins:
The Lord inspired me with the plan of establishing a society of missionaries at Aix who, as a priority, would undertake to evangelize the poor country people, even in the smallest Provencal hamlets. I shared my idea with the Vicars General who approved it; and immediately I started to put the plan in motion by setting down the foundation of this little society which has worked incessantly for five years for the conversion of souls with a success that is due to God alone and can be regarded as miraculous.
With some zealous companions I was going to start immediately that same ministry to which they had wanted to recruit me, ministry among the poor abandoned souls all around us. (…) My main argument… is based on the extreme needs of a diocese destitute of priests and full of unlettered poor people who cannot be helped except by missionaries from their own people, who speak the same language and, if need be, are ready to return to them more than once a year to solidify the work of their conversion. So, I persisted in my first plan.
I cannot congratulate myself enough on the interest and confidence that I was shown by the Vicars General on the occasion of this establishment. They took this work under their protection and they continually defended it as enlightened administrators against all the efforts that Satan did not fail to apply and destroy it. I made it a point of principle to submit to these gentlemen that plan that I had conceived in order to render the service of the missionaries more useful to the diocese. They approved it and it was immediately put into action.
(To Bishop de Bausset, Archbishop of Aix, December 16, 1819, Oblate Writings 13, 35-36)