On August 10-17, 2015, a group of lay people from Palermo who share the Oblate Charism came to visit the places of Saint Eugene in Aix and Marseille. The group was formed of eight people, all from Palermo, including an Oblate and a COMI (a consecrated laywoman from the Secular Institute of the Cooperators of the Missionaries Oblates of May Immaculate).
All came for a journey of faith, of Christian and missionary formation in the OMI community in Palermo they knew back in the year of 1985-1995. They said: « For us, this experience is like coming back to our family, to know more our roots ».
The group made a long preparation for this visit. Last April, they had made a pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Eugene in Palermo. Thanks to Enzo David and others, who did a study of places in the city linked to years of exile of St. Eugene. More than two centuries later, they repeated the same route of Eugene, from Palermo to Aix, with the same feelings of hope, of the future, and of the questions of faith. During the week, they lived in intimacy with the Founder, found themselves in the experience, and they felt confirmed in their belonging to the Oblate family. Helped by the conferences of Frs. Krzysztof and Bonga, they were able to enter deeply into their heart and being opened to the grace of these places as well as sharing these days with the Oblate community of Aix. The fraternity was also expressed during the preparation of a Sicilian meal in memory of the life of St. Eugene in the land of Sicily. They left full of joy and gratitude for the experience and happy to live this spiritual link between Aix and Palermo, the city that hosted St. Eugene at his birth and the other welcomed him in his exile, where he found families and friends – two centuries ago but today as well. This “familial reunion” was filled with joy in our hearts and certainly that of St. Eugene.
Ileana CHINNICI, COMI