Wherever he was, and whatever he was doing, Eugene was always first and foremost an Oblate. It was as Oblate that he was a priest, and later he was first Oblate and then the bishop of a diocese. His Oblate identity gave him the direction and the guiding vision to fulfill all his ecclesiastical functions. It is a conviction that he constantly expressed right until his moment of deat.
Before coming out from retreat I must focus my ideas on the personal rule I must follow during the time, for my sins, I am kept in Marseilles. The thought that in two days’ time I must return to my exile fills me with dismay and I resign myself to it only with much distress, but since it has to be I will try to arrange things so that the fulfilling of one duty does no harm to the fulfilling of another.
Vicar General of Marseilles by necessity and under compulsion, I do not cease for that reason to be the head or rather the father of this Society all of whose members are models of every virtue;
I belong above all and principally to this family for which the Lord has given me so much love and which is for me constantly and so justly an object of admiration.
I may well say of these dear children like the mother of Maccabees that I do not know how they came to be formed in my bosom. Alas! They all have incomparably more virtue than I and I could well say I am not worthy to untie the straps of their sandals. How happy I count myself to be one of them! What thanks do I not owe to God for having given them to me. I will therefore always live in spirit in the most intimate union with them,
Retreat notes, May 1824, EO XV n. 156
Our Rule of Life urges us to continue in this spirit:
“Superiors, and all among us in authority, are called to service as men of faith and prayer. In humility and true obedience, they will seek enlightenment from God and from their brothers’ counsel. They should manifest the following qualities:
– a well-defined identity enlightened by the Oblate charism;
– a deep love for the Church, for the Congregation, and for the poor….”
CC&RR, Constitution 82
“Absolute identity with one’s cause is the first and great condition of successful leadership.” President Woodrow Wilson