I would like to recall a memory of another missionary who works in Lesotho where Fr Joseph spend most his life:
“It was a Sunday afternoon at the mission of Roma. Our Christians, having shared a meal together under shade trees, were preparing to return to their villages. Before leaving some went off to pay visit to the tombs of their favourite saints, Father Joseph Gerard, their first missionary, and Mgr Emmanuel ’Mabathoana, their first Mosotho bishop. At the tomb of Mgr ’Mabathoana religious objects from previous visits were reclaimed and new ones deposited. From that of Father Gerard our Christians gathered up little pieces of soil and placed them carefully in small bags that hung from their necks.
“Asking people about why they have such a great love for Fr. Gerard and Bishop Emmanuel ’Mabathoana, “you really don’t know?” they ask, “but surely you must realize that these two Oblates are our Fathers in the faith”. Within the context of South Africa it was a truly amazing sight to behold the Basotho people embrace and unite a white man and a black man within the circle of their love and devotion. It struck one at the moment that the word “Fathers” was used by these Christians not simply out of habit but from a true sense of veneration and love”
The year after he was beatified, the Oblates in Poland published a calendar with his story. On the cover of the publication there was a big picture of Fr Joseph wearing his Oblate Crucifix. A copy of the calendar was purchased by my dear Nana. That’s was the first time I learnt about the Oblates and it began my journey which led me to join them eventually. I am not sure if Grandma planned that but I am most grateful to her for putting me on this path which I am still enjoying so much. I am also grateful to Blessed Joseph Gerard whose story touched me so much. To be honest he was the first Oblate I learnt about. I am sure St Eugene doesn’t mind that he wasn’t the first in my life. Anyway the truth is that the spirit of St Eugene was deeply implanted in the soul of Blessed Joseph Gerard.
So how to win the world? Blessed Joseph Gerard gives this advice:
“The world belongs to the person who loves it most—and proves it.”
All I can say is this: "Take this advise. It works. The world is yours."