Eugene continues his reflection on maintaining unity in the small but growing group of Missionaries. His particular role as general superior was that of ensuring that each member live by the founding spirit. The local superiors of each community participated in this responsibility.
Each one is individually free in our Society to approach the Superior to communicate his thoughts on everything and even on the changing and improving of whatever is left to his disposition,
local superiors are still more strictly obliged in this respect,
but never will it ever be permitted to take the initiative of changing, improving, if you like, the usages practised in the whole Society, whatever condition or restriction you may put on it.
Individual reflections and suggestions for change were not to be stifled, but to be brought to the meeting of the whole Society, called the general chapter, that had the power to make decisions affecting the whole group and to change the Rule:
The time of the General Chapter is approaching, if I am not mistaken, then it will be time to propose all you please. This assembly will have the right to discuss and deliberate and its resolutions will be valid; until that time, only what is ordained by the Superior General will be legitimate.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 13 March 1821, EO VI n. 63
This role has been maintained throughout our history, and is expressed today as:
The Superior General is the Congregation’s living bond of unity. The example of his life, his apostolic zeal and the affection he holds for all Oblates stir the faith and charity of communities to ever greater efforts in response to the Church’s needs.
CC&RR, Constitution 133
“Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.” Stephen Covey