Exploring the Rules of 1813 and the later Statutes written by Eugene as a Rule of Life for the youth, one is surprised by how detailed and all-encompassing they are. Furthermore, all this did not remain on the level of theory, but was lived with commitment and fervor by a large number of young men who freely chose this way of being Christians.
In the section entitled Duties of the Congregation towards its members, Eugene uses a favorite concept: that of the Youth Congregation as a mother.
Art 1. The Congregation must be regarded as the spiritual mother of every congregant; he must find within her all the spiritual help (and temporal insofar as possible) according to his needs.
Statuts, Chapitre XIV – Devoirs de la Congrégation envers les congréganistes
Seven years earlier, while describing his vocation to the priesthood, Eugene spoke of the Church as a spiritual mother who was suffering persecution:
At a time when the Church, our Mother, was bountifully opening her bosom for us to draw from there all the riches of which she is the depository and faithful dispenser, how could we not but reflect with grief about her as we considered her sorrows and sufferings, how could we not be moved with sympathy for the condition of abandonment she is in…
No, no, these deeds that rend our Mother have penetrated deep into our souls…
Conference on [sub-diaconate] Ordination Day, 23 December 1809, O.W. XIV, n. 65
The Youth Congregation, as a manifestation of Church, was to be regarded as a mother. When he founded the Missionaries of Provence he understood this Society in terms of being a spiritual mother. It was a concept that became dear to the Oblates. For example, writing about the Oblate Congregation to one of the Oblates in 1853:
Attach yourself to her as you would to a mother…
…never cease being grateful to God’s goodness for having called you, that you attach yourself, as I was telling you a while ago, to the family that has adopted you as to a beloved mother.
Letter to Alexandre Audruger, 24 October 1853, O.W. XI n. 1182