Eugene rejoices with fatherly pride at the priestly ordination of a member of his beloved Youth Congregation and of his Missionaries. Writing in the Youth Diary, and from the point of view of the youth he reflected:
On July 31… the Youth Congregation gave God’s Church the most precious gift that it could make her…
And it is with good reason that the Congregation can pride herself on the gift she made then to the Church as M. Hippolyte Courtès is one of the first of the congregants, one who was raised in her bosom, who grew up under her shade, one who was formed in her school.
His confreres were deprived of the consolation of being present at his ordination and hearing his first Mass. He was ordained in Gap and offered the holy Sacrifice for the first time in the sanctuary of Notre Dame du Laus. The congregants could not then be witnesses of the signal favours and abundant gifts the Lord was pleased to shower on this new priest, genuine first fruits offered to God by the Congregation. They were not however strangers to all that passed on that happy day…
Diary of the Youth Congregation, 17 June 1821, O.W. XVI
In his ministry to the young people of Aix, Eugene had built up the Youth Congregation to have a family spirit. One of his favourite images for its role was that of a mother. The Congregation was maternal in its care to nurture the young men to develop in their humanity, to become Christians and to form them in the way of sanctity. Hippolyte Courtès was a first fruit of this “mother” as “one who was raised in her bosom, who grew up under her shade, one who was formed in her school.”
Eugene could have placed his own name together with “mother” because of his own “parental” role towards each member.
Father Courtès was to remain a close confidant of the Founder for the rest of his life.
“God has created me to do him some definitive service. He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission.” John Henry Newman