Art. 23. As soon as the Director has been informed of the illness of one of the congregants he will go and visit him immediately.
Art. 24. He will inform the infirmarians of the illness of the congregant and of his condition so that they can begin to fulfil their ministry of charity in his regard.
Chapitre XIV, Devoirs de la Congrégation envers les congréganistes
§2 Envers les congréganistes malades
Two members of the Youth Congregation were appointed to be infirmarians each year, because
“one of the duties of the Congregation was to look after its members when they are sick”
Statuts, §10, Art 142
To appreciate the significance of this, we need to remember the context of hospitals not being so freely available to ordinary people in the early 1800’s. The sick had to be cared for in their homes – something especially burdensome for the poor. So the Youth Congregation, as a united family, would take on this responsibility of nursing when necessary. It was charity put into action.
Art. 143. These infirmarians should be chosen preferably from the congregants who have some knowledge of medicine, surgery or pharmacy and are able to join to these qualities a great charity for persons, a strong desire to alleviate their suffering and sufficient intelligence to discharge the services they need to render to the sick.
Statuts, Chapitre XI, §10 –Des infirmiers
This same spirit of St. Eugene has been handed down in the Oblate Rule of Life until today:
Our members in distress, those who are sick or the aged among us, contribute greatly to the coming of God’s Kingdom. We will be particularly concerned for them and will surround them with all the affection that binds us together as members of the same family. Constitution 42