January 25: Conversion of St. Paul

 

Beginning of the Aix-en-Provence Community

The request for authorization sent to the Capitular Vicars General of Aix is dated January 25th 1816. It was signed by five Missionaries of Provence: De Mazenod, Tempier, Icard, Mie and Deblieu. (The signature of Icard was later crossed off.)

That day De Mazenod, Tempier, and perhaps Icard, took definitive possession of the rooms purchased in the ancient Carmel of Aix. Tempier had probably gone to live there a few days before to follow closely the work of renovation. He had arrived in Aix on December 27, 1815.

 

“From that day [December 27, 1815] — writes Tempier in his Memoirs — until January 25, I went to my parents’ home only to rest at night. During the day, I was with the Abbé de Mazenod and we were happily busy with everything we were planning to do for God’s glory and the salvation of souls. We said our Office together and made our exercises of piety in common as often as we could, because the Abbé de Mazenod was often in demand by the people of his [youth] congregation.” (Oblate Writings, II, 2, 202)

In mid-February Mie and Deblieu also arrived at the house. As soon as they were gathered they elected De Mazenod superior of the house and after ten days of retreat to prepare themselves for apostolic life, they departed for Grans on February 11 for their first mission. The Missionaries of Provence, hardly born, went into action.

Concerning that January 25 we have a writing that is especially dear to all Oblates, the letter that St. Eugene wrote on January 24, 1831 to the novice master, Fr. Mille

Tomorrow I celebrate the anniversary of the day, sixteen years ago [an error of one year], I left my mother’s house to go and set up house at the Mission. Father Tempier had taken possession of it some days before. Our lodging had none of the splendour of the mansion at Billens, and whatever deprivations you may be subject to, ours were greater still. My camp-bed was placed in the small passageway which leads to the library: it was then a large room used as a bedroom for Father Tempier and for one other whose name we no longer mention amongst us. It was also our community room. One lamp was all our lighting and, when it was time for bed, it was placed in the doorway to give light to all three of us.

The table that adorned our refectory was one plank laid alongside another, on top of two old barrels. We have never enjoyed the blessing of such poverty since the time we took the vow. Without question, it was a foreshadowing of the state of perfection that we now live so imperfectly…. I assure you we lost none of our merriment; on the contrary, as this new way of life was in quite striking contrast with that we had just left, we often found ourselves having a hearty laugh over it. I owed this tribute to the memory of our first day of common life. How happy I would be to live it now with you! (To Father Mille, January 24, 1831, Oblate Writings, 8, p. 11)

It was in 1866, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of foundation that January 25th was first celebrated as the date of the beginning of the Congregation. In his Circular Letter No. 15 (March 19, 1865) Father Fabre invited all Oblates to solemnly celebrate the anniversary of the foundation on that day: “That day ought not go unnoticed, and I consider it a duty to call your attention to such a solemn anniversary, so that your hearts may be filled with gratitude to God and affection for our beloved Congregation.” The Superior General requested a special indulgence from the Holy See for the occasion. It was granted for all the members of the Congregation including novices and postulants.

Ever since then January 25 has become the day when Oblates celebrate the birth of their Congregation. We should call this day more properly: the beginning of community life.

References:

Cosentino, Notre Congrégation a-t-elle été fondée le 25 janvier 1816?, «Etudes Oblate» 15 (1956) 148-158.

Pielorz, Nouvelle recherche sur la fondation de notre Congrégation, «Missions O.M.I.», 83 (1956) 192-253; 84 (1957) 111-166.

Cosentino, Quelle est, selon le Fondateur, la date de la fondation?, «Etudes Oblate» 17 (1958) 352-360.

Pielorz, La Congrégation OMI était-elle fondée le 25 janvier 1816?, «Vie Oblate Life» 54 (1995) 161-182.

Lamirande, Eugène de Mazenod et les Missionnaires de Provence. Étapes de la fondation (1815-1816), « Vie Oblate Life » 57 (1998), p. 395-438.

 

(Source: www.omiworld.org)

Eugene de Mazenod

Kemampuannya dalam pewartaan injil dan bakat kepemimpinannya dalam mengarahkan berbagai Misi merupakan tanda-tanda lahir hidup batin yang menjadikan Eugene de Mazenod sebagai penjala manusia.

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