In this letter to Marius Bernard, a 22 year-old seminarian in Aix, we see Eugene treating this young Oblate deacon with much fatherly patience as he corrects him:

I make this remark, my dear friend, because I have just been thinking of it in my oraison and I am writing to a deacon who is no doubt imbued with the importance of his state and full of good desires to perfect himself more and more in the virtues which ought to be the attributes of a holy ecclesiastic …

We do not know the subject of what this young man had made a public show about in the church:

I cannot conceive how you forgot at the time that you were not alone. If there had been no one in the church, I would have seen nothing untoward in your presenting yourself lovingly before the tabernacle of Our Lord to show him your needs and ask for his help but it is no longer reasonable when done in a loud voice before everybody. Be watchful then over the ardour of your zeal and know how to control yourself when you have witnesses of your actions.

Letter to Marius Bernard, 16 June 1824, EO VI n. 143


Yvon Beaudoin writes about him: “We find his name in a few of the Founder’s letters… He was urged not to make a display himself by his odd practices of piety and that he was looked upon as an eccentric.” (“Bernard, Marius André Barthélemy” in the Historical Dictionary, Volume 1.)


“A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?”   Albert Einstein

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I am a bit at a loss this morning. About where to go with it all in relation to my life. I am a little uncomfortable with the word piety or eve pious, perhaps because I grew up used to thinking of piety being synonymous with holy, correct, very good, saintly, etc etc – not necessarily qualities that I was imbued with. Could I play the game though, I am sure yes at least for a short while before someone would bring me back down to earth and reality. Could I become like that now? I want to say no but know myself much to well to say it and mean it. I have to ask myself what would that look like if I were to be like young Marius Bernard? Especially as I am in leadership roles – I need to be vigilant that I not set myself up as something I am not. I keep thinking of the story in the bible of the pharasee who went to the front of the temple and in a loud voice thanked God that he was not like those other sinners behind him. Nor can I boast of how big is my sin. An equally easy and big trap to fall into perhaps. It cannot be for show.

    No easier to reflect on Albert Einstein’s rather quirky statement. “A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?” My question to myself is usually and simply “am I crazy” – I don’t tend to put that on anyone else (although I do use other words). I am simply not sure about how this quote fits here this morning or what to do with it.

    This is my last day of work and I think that I want to celebrate the people that I have come to share my time and myself with – they have been the real gift here and I have learned much from and with them.

  2. David Morgan says:

    Eleanor, thanks for all the good work and effort you are putting into the Oblate Associates formation and question. Please do keep writing here, I enjoy your postings They make me reflect on the bigger questions in life and faith.

    • Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

      Thank you Dave and for the invitation to keep writing here. Am not through with the Oblates or the Oblate Associates at all. I am glad that my own reflections open doors for others – sort of like Frank’s and Eugene’s writings do for me sort of like your own comments do for me. Something that are all in together. Isn’t it wonderful.

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