St. Eugene de Mazenod

Superior General and Missionary

All the while, Eugene continued to serve as Superior General of the Oblates. After accepting a mission in neighboring Corsica en 1834, starting in 1841, the small Society began a period of great expansion. Eugene received many requests from abroad. In spite of limited personnel, he responded in faith. In 1841 the first Oblates arrived in Canada . Soon they ventured into the vast plains of the West and within a few years had reached the Arctic Circle. Other countries followed: England in 1842; the United States and Ceylon (today Sri Lanka) in 1847, South Africa in 1851 and Ireland in 1855.

Always a prolific writer, Eugene corresponded unceasingly with his missionaries. In his voluminous correspondence he reveals himself as a caring pastor, involved in all aspects of their life and mission. Always an apostolic man, he was able to encourage, advise, correct and support. He harbored a profound sense of spiritual paternity and lived in intense union with his sons as they shouldered the many heavy burdens in distant missions. Although he never traveled beyond the borders of Europe, with the exception of a short trip to Algeria, Saint Eugene nurtured in his heart a concern for all the churches. A visiting bishop remarked after meeting Saint Eugene: "I have met the apostle Paul".

  

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