The General House is also important to us as in the chapel there is the statue of the Oblate Madonna. On August 15, 1822, Father de Mazenod solemnly blessed the statue in the church of the Mission in Aix. He wrote: “Her head, crowned with twelve stars, is lifted toward heaven in an attitude of prayer. She wears a golden veil, the same colour as her long robe and her mantle. She is portrayed as the Immaculate Conception with one foot standing on the crescent moon and the other upon a serpent she is crushing. Her right hand is resting on her heart while her other hand is open, spreading graces on her children who are praying to her.”
In a July 15, 1889 report from the Oblate house in Aix, Father Prosper Monnet described the internal chapel of the Mission church at Aix with the altar of the vows and the “ancient Virgin which formerly smiled upon our venerated Founder and today still stands on her rich marble pedestal...” In his work, which appeared in 1894, Father Eugene Baffie listed some special favors received by the Founder and wrote: “The first one which Bishop de Mazenod related himself on August 15, but in veiled, mysterious terms, was the keen, invigorating intuitive impression of the marvels that God wanted to operate in him and by him. Did the Holy Virgin appear directly to her servant? Did she reveal to him concretely the future of his congregation? We may perhaps be justified in affirming this. What can be affirmed is that from that day on, Father de Mazenod knew clearly that his work came from God and was agreeable to God.”
Father Emil Lamblin narrated the blessing of the statue on August 15, then he adds: “Oral tradition tells us that the statue opened its eyes and nodded her head in the affirmative while her zealous servant was asking for a favour. This extraordinary happening has never appeared in any report [...] From that moment on, this statue to which all our older priests attribute this miracle was called the miraculous Virgin or yet again, the Virgin of the Mission or of Bishop de Mazenod.” The statue, the altar of the vows and the heart of the Founder were transported to Rome after the religious expulsions from France in 1903.
Apart from this treasure there is also an altar at which St Eugene and his first companion made their oblate vows. Opposite to the little chapel of the altar of the vows there is another chapel where the heart of St Eugene is kept. After talking to my Oblate Brothers I went to this special place which is soaked with the presence of Our Founder. I prayed through the intercession of Our Immaculate Mother for our Oblates in Australia so that although far away from this place we could live and share the spirit of the man was so open to the Holy Spirit that he become an instrument in the hands of Jesus for the salvation of people.