Eugene wrote a very short letter to Fr. Tempier noting the return of Cholera to Marseilles but equally stating he was unafraid.

“Your cholera and your epidemic do not frighten me at all. I have always regretted that I did not die in 1814, when I had contacted typhoid in the prisons. I would ask for nothing better than to succumb to another attack especially if it is while fulfilling a duty of charity or of justice.” (632:IX in Oblate Writings)

I know that this was not a death wish, however Eugene did wish to be a martyr for God and so I think perhaps this is what he refers to.  At least I hope so.  For he clearly loved life and all that God offered to him.  Yet he would joyfully die while in the service of loving others.

Would I be so magnanimous?  I do not know if I would have the courage but I would like to think that I do.  God asks of me what he knows I can give and handle.  This does not mean that he loves me any less than a martyr, nor that I love him any less than another.  We are all called to something different.  For Eugene it was to found a great congregation and family, to share a way of living with all of us, to be there for his men at the start and to die in old age so that his wisdom and tenderness would be a gift to all.  I am called to live this live with the charism that is shared amongst us.  I am not sure that I have any great amount to give another – save to be a small sign to others.

I am grateful for the life that God calls me to.

About Eleanor Rabnett

Oblate Associate
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