Eugene used to spend the days around the First Friday of each month with the community in Aix. After this particular visit he wrote with joy about his experience with the novices – those men who were involved in the intense year of formation to become Missionaries.
What consoles me is that the life which our novices lead in the Society is a life so regular, so fully in God that one could regard it as a continual retreat.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 8 June 1824, EO VI n 142
He was insistent on the importance of this year as a period to lay foundations for a lifetime of being and doing all for God. If the novices learnt how to “be fully in God,” then this internal attitude would accompany them throughout their missionary life, no matter how busy they were.
Eugene’s concern for all of us continues today:
“We achieve unity in our life only in and through Jesus Christ. Our ministry involves us in a variety of tasks, yet each act in life is an occasion for personal encounter with the Lord, who through us gives himself to others and through others gives himself to us.” CC&RR, Constitution 31