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April 25: The Christian Youth Congregation is Born in Aix-en-Provence.

avril 25

April 25:
The Christian Youth Congregation is Born in Aix-en-Provence.
The Sunday after Easter 1813 fell on April 25. On that day “were laid the foundations of the holy Association of Christian Youth.”
The first group consisted of 8 young people, aged 12 to 16. Ten years later, in 1823, when Eugene had to leave for Marseilles, the group numbered 400.
Fourteen of them followed him into the religious and priestly life, becoming Oblates. Few of them had ever seen a priest who was so interested in young people and was so close to them.
In the Oblate General archives in Rome, there are 238 original letters written by these young people to
Eugene – testimony to the affection and the gratitude that they had for him.
Eugene was a priest for just two years and had not wanted a parish so he could be free to start an innovative ministry.
The group which he was giving life to was illegal and went against the provisions of Napoleon that prohibited any form of youth association. He writes this about it:
“The enterprise is difficult…. It is not without danger…. but I am unafraid, for I place all my trust in God, because I seek only His glory and the salvation of the souls he has redeemed by His Son Our Lord Jesus Christ….”
The first young people met at the seminary in Aix, in the house of Eugene’s mother, in the garden and in the house of the Misses Mille, and at the country house owned by his mother…. When finally two years later, in 1815, Eugene bought a room in the Carmelite convent to be used as the house of the Missionaries of Provence, he brought his youth there.
So it was the young people who opened the first house of the Oblates and were the first to live there. The same thing happened in Marseilles, when in 1821 the Oblates were called to take care of the children and young people of the Panier district, the poorest and most colorful of the city.
St. Eugene wrote a very detailed Rule for the Youth Association: 544 articles! Daily Mass, fifteen minutes of spiritual reading, visit to the Eucharistic Jesus, and a community meeting on Sunday and Thursday: these were radical changes to every bourgeois and mundane style of life.
It was enough to discourage anyone who did not want to take it seriously. Perhaps this was Eugene’s intent, to weed out all those unwilling to go all out.
Through the creation of the Association he in fact
proposed the reconstruction of a society that was no longer Christian,which had lost its religious and moral values.
(Cf. É. Lamirande, Les règlements de la congrégation de la Jeunesse d’Aix et nos saintes règles, “Études oblates” 15 (1956)
#pilgrimsofhopeincommunion #LeaveNothingUndared #oblatemissionwithyouth #eugenedemazenod #CharismaticFamily


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avril 25
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Maison de Fondation des Missionnaires Oblats
60 Cr Mirabeau, 13100 Aix-en-Provence, France
Aix-en-Provence, 13100 France
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