WE NEED TO STOP THIS IMPROVISED SORT OF LIFE

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

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One Response to WE NEED TO STOP THIS IMPROVISED SORT OF LIFE

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    This speaks to me of the leadership discernment process which is happening here in our Province, first for the Provincial and his Vicars, and then for the Provincial Council and the District Superiors with their councils. It is done in the spirit of frankness, honesty and love. It is done with and by humans. I see much the same in families, parishes, governments and our Church. This speaks to me of real love – Eugene in writing to Hippolyte Courtès – not to put down any other, but stating in loving truth why one might be better than another, what or who will best serve the community and their needs, according to their gifts, their strengths etc.

    “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 I love this quote from the Constitution and Rules: “united as brothers in one apostolic community” (could read united as brothers and sisters in this one family, in this one parish, in this one community of Oblate Partners/Partners in Mission/MAMI/Oblate Associates, etc); “we are all equal before God our Father ….” we are all equal …..

    I very much find in the Constitution and Rules the recipe for life in general. Many of us with our families, our parishes, our many and different communities that we belong to in life don’t have a written recipe as such to remind and guide us. You my God have called me to such a way of living, in such a place as I there is before me guidelines, a framework both spiritual and practical at the same time. I dare to say it is the living out in a specific way what Jesus spoke of in the gospels, in your living, dying and rising from death to new life. It is both spiritual and physical – a great mystery on one level and live out in the here and now on another level.

    I digress I think from the subject once again, but still I find myself filled with awe of all that I am given, at the wisdom of Eugene, of those who have gone before us and of those who are living it now with us, with me. God in and with and part of.

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