I admit, my dear good Guibert, your letter had deeply affected me… How could you wish, my dear friend, that it be otherwise, persuaded as I am that the good God has given you to us in answer to our prayers, that he has called you like the apostles with the most evident signs of a truly divine vocation to follow him and to serve him in the ministry which resembles most that which he prescribed for his apostles, with whose work he willed to associate you.

Joseph-Hippolyte Guibert, who was a novice at the time, was going thru a crisis of his vocation and had written to Eugene about it. Eugene was still in Paris and consulted the Jesuit Provincial Superior for a discernment opinion on what Guibert was going thru.

Overwhelmed, I put my trust in God, I invoked his holy name and, although I could not doubt what policy I should follow, I was inspired to have recourse to the principal superior of an Order to whom the ways of God are not unknown. You know the result of this initiative. The conclusion permits not the least doubt, leaves not the least anxiety. Your conduct is entirely mapped out and it is not I who speak; but I must say, what is said is just as I thought.

Letter to Joseph-Hippolyte Guibert, 26 June 1823, EO VI n. 109

Eugene then wrote to Hippolyte Courtès, who was the novice master and acting superior in Aix:

However much I felt sure that the demon was laying a trap for him I was pleased to know the opinion of a man experienced in the ways of God, absolutely independent and consequently in no way influenced by any particular consideration or attachment. Having listened attentively to the very exact account I gave him and to the reading of his letter, he repeated to me perhaps twenty times: There is no doubt that he is called, no doubt that he is called; let him refrain from leaving, it is a trap of the enemy. He told me on this subject the wisest, the most reasonable things in the world. Tell him clearly that there is nothing more common than such doubts, that he chase them away as he would chase thoughts against the Faith or against purity.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 15 June 1823, EO VI n. 108


Discernment is God’s call to intercession, never to faultfinding.” Corrie Ten Boom

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    It is incredibly painful to even to try to be present to this today. I hear and taste the words but only on the surface and although they speak of what is happening within me I feel no sense of comfort or support. I do not know the details of Guibert’s crisis around his vocation but I can only look at the love and support he was given. I feel as if Eugene was speaking to me and about me today. Is this a trap for me? I do not know. Do I feel betrayed and abandoned – yes even if that was not the intention.

    I feel like I do not belong here in this place – it is not meant to be a place to rail in anger or pain. And I apologise Frank for so “using” this space. So I ask only that all who come here today please pray for me.

    • Anda says:

      Eleanor! what happened between “In the moments of being within a tender embrace it is easy to know why I remain where I am and not give up, but it is in those moments and times of darkness that it becomes a little hard to say; Lord I trust that you are with me,” and today. If you want to talk, you know where to reach me!

      • Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

        Dear Anda – thank you so much. Earlier last week I prayed to God to make me open and vulnerable (I know!). Well guess maybe my prayers are being somewhat answered. It happened and it “knocked the socks off of me”. It was not God that I felt abandoned by, but certainly someone I love. I did not run away even though one part of me wanted to – I needed to remain where I was, but at the same time I seemed to be incapable of writing or even reflecting. I am okay or I will be okay. Your love is so very much appreciated – keep me in your prayers.

  2. Jack Lau, OMI says:

    Thank you both for your sharing and care of each other. Is that not what we aspire to in the de Mazenod family. We are there, if only an ear.
    And in the writing, what touched me is that Eugene knew that it was important to ask others that he saw as “specialist” in discernment.
    As one in Formation I have come to cherish the other formators in the area for their wisdom, insight and experience.
    One in the World Wide Web of Oraison (wwwo)

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