Oblates Join Mazenodian Family Members on Retreat in Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence, France

Photos and story by Fr. Louis Studer, OMI, U.S. Provincial

Frank Santucci, OMI, leads a class at the Oblate Foundation House in Aix as Dr. Kevin Henseler, Oblate Partner, listens intently.

Fourteen Members of the Mazenodian Family, including three Oblates, are participating in a retreat/ workshop, in Aix-en-Provence, France, from June 18-28. Led by Oblates Frank Santucci, Billy Morell and Leader of the Oblate Partnership, Artie Pingolt. Oblate Provincial Lou Studer also attended. The focus of our days together is learning about the life of St. Eugene and tracing his steps where our Congregation was founded in 1816 and blossomed.

Dan O’Shaughnessy, Greg Blasko, Maureen Bacchi, Ginger Kemme listen to Fr. Santucci.

Participants Ginger Kemme, Jeannie O’Shaughnessy, Dan Smytka listen as Billy Morell, OMI, poses a question.

Our days together were spent in prayer, discussion, classes, and resting. As we became acquainted with one another we enjoyed the hospitality of the five members of the Oblate community at Aix, with newly named Superior Oblate Paolo Archiati, former Vicar General of the Congregation. We saw where St. Eugene was born, baptized and confirmed and where he ministered to youth and prisoners in his early years. We traveled to nearby Marseille where he served the Church as bishop and celebrated Mass at his tomb in Marseille.

Walking in the steps of St. Eugene in his younger years in Aix. 

While our time together also included sampling French wines and pastries, all agreed that we learned a lot about our Oblate charism, mission and the contribution of Oblate ministry in 60 countries to the wider Church, especially among the poor.

Fr. Studer at the front door of St. Eugene’s childhood home