A few months earlier, Eugene had written to Henri Tempier: ”First companion of mine, you have from the first day we came together grasped the spirit which must animate us and which we must communicate to others” (Letter to Henri Tempier, 15 August 1822, O.W. VI n. 86)
Today the Church uses the New Testament word charism to refer to this God-given spirit conferred on someone for the good of its members and mission.
We can thus appreciate Eugene’s joy at seeing the young Missionaries who had understood this charism and were working wonders thru their ministry wherever they were. It was this God-given spirit that was the source of the success of their ministry, and which gave life to their efforts. He asks the seminarians in training to follow in the footsteps of their elder brothers by imitating that same spirit:
Oh! I have no doubt that you will follow the footsteps of your elder brothers – see the wonders that it has already pleased the Lord to work through their ministry!
This is because, young though they be, they are filled with the spirit that gives life to everything.
That is why we try to perpetuate it amongst us and it is through you, my dear friends, that this living and fruitful tradition will be transmitted to that other class of our Society, the novices, who follow along immediately after you. Continue to give them the example of all the virtues, of regularity, of fidelity to the Rules
Letter to André Sumien and the scholastics in Aix, 18 March 1823, EO VI n.96
“Join together in imitating me, brothers, and pay close attention to those who live by the example we have set for you.” Saint Paul to the Philippians, 3:17