Accompanying the formation of a group of some 250 young men who gathered twice a week in Aix was a major undertaking for Eugene. His concern for the human and Christian development of each one is clear on every page of the Rules of Life that he wrote for the Youth Congregation.

Everything had to be a learning experience, and as we continue to explore the Rule, we see how he wished to train them to relate according to Gospel values. Their difficulties and conflicts needed to be transformed, particularly in the games and interactions that filled up a large part of the day’s activities.

Art 34. It is also recommended that when all are together, they take care not to give in to the effects of their liveliness, which could cause them to react sharply and with some vulgarity. Even less they should never raise a hand against anyone.
Art. 35. If one gives in deliberately to this initial reaction and a member of the congregation gives offence to another, he must not add the mistaket of not wanting to make up for the initial fault. As soon as he realizes his mistake he must ask forgiveness of the one he has offended. The latter must immediately put aside any grudge or bad temper and forgive him with all his heart. He must then forget forever the fault of his brother and only bear in mind the memory of the edifying reconciliation that took place.
Statuts, Chapitre XIII – Obligations spirituelles des congréganistes

The spirit of this text reminds me of the important truth constantly taught by Marist Brother and psychiatrist, Brother Sean Sammon that ‘a spirit of reconciliation must be at the heart of the everyday life of any community.”


“All healthy religion shows you what to do with your pain. If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.” Richard Rohr Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality, p. 191

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I do not know why I looked at this today but it seems somehow to fit what has been happening here in Czech Rep with me. God is ‘growing my heart’, it is stretching and I cannot even say to breaking point – it is growing. And as that happens I see how I need to be more aware of how I act and what I say and to ensure that I do not let any ‘bad tastes’ remain in my mouth – particularly with those that I sometimes struggle with – and even more than that – that none remain hidden away in my heart. I need to make room for all that God is giving me.

    It is an awesome thing and perhaps I should be scared, but oddly enough I am not. This love that I am slowly being filled with is like water to the dessert and slowly those dry brittle and dark places in my heart are being filled with life and light. Transformation continues. God brought me all the way here so that I might be touched by these wonderful people. They seem to think that I have given them alot, and in truth I do not know and can only hope that God has spoken through me. But in truth I have received so much. God you sent me here for a reason – I don’t know what it was, all I know is that I leave with so much more than I had when I came. I thank you.

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