In early January of 1838 Eugene wrote to Father Courtès, at Aix, explaining his new coat of arms and motto that he has chosen now that he is Bishop of Marseilles.

 “My Pastoral Letter will not have reached you yet because my seals had not arrived from Paris. You will notice that I have not disowned my position as Founder and superior of our beloved Congregation. While prudence required that for the peace of its future I do not openly take a title that would have caused embarrassment, I did combine its coat of arms with that of my family, and you will notice the missionary cross shining brighter than my own coat of arms, and the motto so precious which is distinctive of this Society on the top of everything. You will explain it to whomever wishes to listen, no beating around the bush in this matter. This is a coat of arms that speaks.

 Good-bye. dear son, a thousand good wishes at the beginning of this year, and my most abundant blessings.” (656:IX in Oblate Writings)

I find myself with a small hunger to see a picture of the coat of arms that Eugene has described.  In his own words he has described how he incorporated his whole self, his ‘Oblateness’ if you will, his family into his new position as Bishop of Marseilles.  I find myself immensely pleased that he did not in any way abandon or disown who he was which was Founder and Superior General of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.  And of course why would he for it was God who brought him to this point of his life.

I think of couples going into a marriage – so often now the woman does not drop her father’s name but rather adds that of her husband.  And why not – for she brings who she is – not to trash it, but she brings it in to the new union and family that she and her husband are forging.

I look at all that I have been, and some of it has been far from pretty.  And even once I’d heard the voice of my most beloved as he took my heart into that of himself, still I have not been anywhere near perfectly faithful.  Never did he tell me to pretend that was anyone different from who I was and how I had coped, never did he tell me to pretend that the past did not exist.  I brought it all with me even as he embraced all of who I was/am/will be.  Even today I bring who I am, with all that has led up to this point in time, I bring that with me – not separated but integrated for it all has been made holy in our God’s love.  I have been washed in the blood of the lamb.  At this very moment there is a truth and understanding in those words.

About Eleanor Rabnett

Oblate Associate
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