The young Missionary students who were preparing for the priesthood at Laus had fully understood the meaning of the spirit of oblation. They wanted their self-giving to God for mission to be as generous as possible. They had already expressed their oblation thru the vows of chastity, obedience and perseverance. As a result of their annual retreat of 1820, they had been inspired to write to Eugene to ask his permission to make the vow of poverty as well. They wanted to seal their spirit of self-giving by a solemn commitment.
Eugene, overjoyed that they had understood the spirit of oblation in such a radical way, replied:
It was impossible for me, my dear friends and beloved sons in Jesus Christ, not to shed tears of consolation on reading and rereading your touching and very edifying letters. I only wish that the work of this mission, which gives me no respite, would leave me time to write to each of you to prove particularly the sentiments inspired in me by your piety and your tender attachment. I thank the good God for all that he has inspired in you during this memorable retreat…
The more you are holy, the greater will be my happiness.
Ah! I would say it already overflows if I could witness the marvels that the good God works in your midst, if it were given to me to press you to my heart. It takes nothing less than the emphatic will of God to keep me where I am; my spirit is at Laus, it follows you, accompanies you.
Letter to the students and novices at Notre Dame du Laus, 29 November 1820,
O.W. VI n. 56
Today we continue to express this same ideal:
Our choice of poverty compels us to enter into a closer communion with Jesus and with the poor, to contest the excesses of power and wealth and to proclaim the coming of a new world freed from selfishness and open to sharing.
CC&RR, Constitution 20
“I thank fate for having made me born poor. Poverty taught me the true value of the gifts useful to life.” Anatole France