Continuing his retreat reflections, Eugene evaluated how he divided his energy in his dealings with others:
In my relations with others who are not part of the community.
They must always be subordinate to the obligations I have to fulfill as head of the house of the Mission and as the one responsible for the youth.
I am primarily the servant of my brothers, and of my sons’, then everyone else’s.
Retreat notes, May 1818, O.W. XV, n. 145
In a particular way, he had to dedicate a lot of quality time to the formation of the prospective members of the Missionaries. Jacques Jeancard, who had been formed by Eugene, reminisced (in a somewhat hagiographical 19th century style):
The Society still existed in an emerging form, … a mustard seed that was to become a tree whose branches have spread much further than we imagined at the time.
While following the holy inspiration that that he had received to seek everywhere priests willing to sacrifice everything for God and to unite themselves in a congregation to work with him for the sanctification of souls in the work of missions, M. de Mazenod had dreamed at the same time of forming around himself a type of school of apostles. This would continue the generous project and would be the element through which it it would develop. The young people I mentioned above were the first pupils of this holy school. They were especially cared for by M. de Mazenod himself, who became their spiritual director and novice master. He was concerned for their education all the time: during recreation during their walks (when he had the time to accompany them), in his room, in the meeting room, in the chapel, and finally in all circumstances he tried to animate them with the spirit of God.
Thus we can say that the air of the house was permeated with this spirit; we constantly breathed it, and we breathed no other. We lived in an atmosphere that was totally apostolic. It must be said that all the priests of the community still maintain it.
Melanges historiques sur la Congregation des Oblats de Marie Immaculee
(Tours, 1872), pp. 26 and 27.
What did Our Lord Jesus Christ do? He chose a certain number of apostles and disciples whom He formed in piety and filled with His spirit; and after having trained them in his school and the practice of all virtues, He sent them forth to conquer the world which they soon brought under the rule of his holy laws.