Ecuador was a matter of the heart for Dehon. The recent tragedy after the earthquake reminds us of the importance of this country to the Founder and the Congregation.
In Ecuador, “la Republique du Sacré Cœur“, Fr. Dehon saw the possibility of a state based in Christianity and thus followed the ideological, social and religious issues of this nation. In Ecuador Fr. Dehon discovered projects of religious life so similar to his own that he considered a unification of the Oblates with Fr. Matovelle. But first of all, Ecuador meant the start of the missionary movement of the SCJ Congregation when in July, 1888, the first two Dehonian missionaries departed for the country: Frs. Grison and Blanc. During nine years there the congregation saw maturity, but also failures and disappointments that led to new paths towards the Congo and Brazil.
Unfortunately, today we must once again use the words that Fr. Dehon wrote in Le Regne: “Bad news from Ecuador“; or the words of Fr. Rasset in his diary: “Nos Pères de l’Équateur pauvres sont bien à plaindre“. The devastation caused by the forces of nature struck a people among whom we are present again with the help of SCJs from Spain, Brazil and Venezuela. We now share in the anguish and tears of a people who are not forgotten by the Dehonian Family. We pray for Fr. Dehon to intercede for this beloved people and to support our confreres who are in solidarity them; we must fight indifference. It is a matter of the heart.