Joseph-Hippolyte Guibert, a young man from Aix en Provence, had joined the novitiate but, soon after, had been pressurized by his father to leave. A few weeks later he had returned and Eugene wrote about this to express his happiness to the community.
Let Guibert know what pleasure I felt on learning of his return to the house. His conduct will be remembered in our Society and he can be assured that it has gained for him in advance, so to speak, the affection that one ordinarily obtains only after much time and long trials.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 6 March 1823, EO VI n 95
To Guibert himself, Eugene wrote:
I have not waited until today, my dear friend, to express my joy to you; too much have I shared in your happiness and too much do I value it not to thank the good God first and then to rejoice with the family to which you have so suddenly returned as a result of the protection of God over you and over us.
In expressing his satisfaction, Eugene referred to “a kind of presentiment I had from the first day I saw you.” It refers to his appreciating the value of this young man and the responsibilities that he would have in the Church: at 24 he was to be appointed novice master, at 27 he became superior of Notre Dame du Laus, at 34 he became superior of the major seminary of Ajaccio, then Bishop of Viviers, Archbishop of Tours, Archbishop of Paris and Cardinal.
Eugene recognized in this young man someone who had deeply understood the charism of the Missionaries, and who would become a driving-force in the Oblates:
All that augurs well for the good there will be for us to do together in the fold of the Church ravaged by so many beasts.
So let us ever be united in the same spirit.
Letter to Joseph Guibert, 19 March 1823, EO VI n 97
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” John C. Maxwell