Eugene’s concern for his Oblates was holistic – it included every aspect of their lives. He wanted then to be all for God, great saints, dedicated community members and zealous missionaries prepared to give their lives for their ideals. In order to do this, however, they needed to look after their health. They were young and energetic and in their generosity and missionary zeal they pushed themselves beyond their human capabilities. Eugene had to apply the brakes:
Eh bien! why do you behave in a such manner as to shorten your days? How is it that after the hard exertions you made at the mission of Tallard, after the fatigues and sufferings of the mission of Lauzet, where you had to struggle against hell and all the elements as well, the inclemency of weather being so rigorous that the people of that region could scarcely bear it, you go back to Tallard and rest yourself by preaching again twice a day and forget the care of your health to the point of confessing thirty hours without stopping!
And you would wish me, my child, not to be appalled by such behavior! You may very well say you are not tired at all, that you eat and sleep well, that does not suffice to appease me, such excess is destroying your existence. I do not wish you to expose yourself to the consequences that can result. That is to be understood in the future once and for all.
Letter to Marius Suzanne, 23 April 1823, EO VI n 102
‘It is our best work that God wants, not the dregs of our exhaustion. I think God must prefer quality to quantity.” George MacDonald