The 1818 Rule had underlined the importance of doing something to remedy the havoc caused to priests by the French Revolution.
Art. 2. In the beginning, the missionaries because of their youth, will only be able to undertake indirectly the healing of this deep wound by their gentle suggestions, their prayers and good examples…
Art. 3. Consequently, they will preach retreats to priests and the [houses of the Missionaries] will always be a welcoming refuge for them…
1818 Rule, Part One, Chapter One. The ends of the Institute, §3.
Missions, 78 (1951) p.14-15
(cf entry above of March 7, 2012 and also a reflection and the full text, with its strong language, which can be found in the entries of June 9 – 14, 2010)
The first community at ND du Laus took this seriously and out it into practice:
Seven priests and a cleric had come… Our politeness towards them, — a politeness mixed with a lot of reserve (and without) the least familiarity —, the good attitude of our little community, the sound of the bell which summons us to our exercises, our long thanksgivings and Benedicite, the reading of Holy Scripture and of some edifying lives that we do during the greater part of the meal, all that is infinitely pleasing to those who have not yet lost all sense of piety and who still have some idea of their state in life and reduce to silence those who have forgotten what it means to be a priest.
Generally, they respect us and see us as priests different from them.
Letter from Henri Tempier to Eugene de Mazenod, 5 July 1819,
Oblate Writings II.2, n. 15
“A smile is the universal welcome.” Max Eastman