From the beginning, the Oblates have always been good at improvising so as to make the mission possible. However, sacrificing structures and regularity eventually catches up to the detriment of the mission. In this letter, Eugene writes to Courtès, the superior of the Aix community about the administrative organization of the community. He refers to two of the checks and balances built into the Rule for the well-being of the community.
The first was that one of the Oblates was appointed “admonitor” to the superior. His task was to be a confidant of the superior as well as an advisor who watched over the welfare and the decisions of the superior with a critical eye.
The second was that the superior of a community had to have an advisory council, made up of some members of the community, whose agreement and vote he needed in order to make some of the decisions regarding the life and mission of the community. Eugene calls these associates, “assessors.”
(We need to bear in mind that these letters of Eugene were private letters to an individual and never intended to be seen by anyone else. This is why he speaks his mind about the strengths and weaknesses of some of the people concerned.)
If I had been able to remain several days at Aix, I would have completed what is relative to the administration of the house. It should have been my duty to do this sooner; because of continual interruptions, I have always put it off. I write today to ask you to remind me to do it without fail on my next visit.
I am undecided as to whether I should name Moreau; I would be strongly tempted to do no such thing; he is so little down to earth that in truth it is not worth the trouble. There would only be the matter of having to fear his weakness, I will think again about this. You can give me your advice; it would never be for admonitor, for that he should have greater love for the Rule, more zeal for the good of the Society and of the members which comprise it, but it would be to name him as one of the assessors with Father Honorat whom I name assessor and admonitor of the superior of the house of Aix.
From then on you must proceed in a regular manner, month by month, so as to stop this improvised sort of life which is not sustainable.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 8 June 1824, EO VI n 142
“United as brothers in one apostolic community, we are all equal before God our Father who distributes charisms and ministries so that we can serve his Church and its mission. Our organizational structures, accordingly, are set up in function of that mission.” CC&RR, Constitution 72