Charles-Dominique Albini had joined Eugene’s Missionaries to be a preacher. After his period of initial formation at the novitiate, he was rearing to get into this ministry. Eugene, however, asked him to set aside preaching for a while and concentrate on the necessary task of translating the Rule into Latin.

Father Tempier would be inclined to think that Father Albini should be exclusively engaged in the translation that has been begun and that he should not go on missions. He made the same remark that we did about the muddle of a translation made by several individuals who each have their own style. This deficiency will be very visible. He would therefore prefer that only one person assume the task; and as you are too busy to take it on, it would seem that Father Albini should be chosen.
It is not an easy matter to decide. As our good Father Albini has been counting on the missions, would it not cause him too keen a disappointment to turn him away from them? There would be another way, and that would be that you make your contribution to the whole work by retouching even what Father Albini has done well.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 21 February 1825, EO VI n. 170

Albini’s missionary enthusiasm was not to be put off, as Yvon Beaudoin tells us:

Father Albini was to leave in several days for the mission of Puyloubier which he preached with Fathers Mye and Honorat February 29 – March 25. Cf.: Missions O.M.I., 1897, pp. 222-228. However he had the time to translate almost everything before his departure. He wrote to the Founder on February 26th: “I have worked day and night to translate a large part of our Constitutions. The work has been done somewhat hastily; I would have wished to go over it but not having had the time, our good Father Courtès will be able, I hope, to look after this…” Orig., archives of the Postulation. (Footnote to EO VI n. 170)


“God has created me to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission – I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next… I have a part in a great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons…”     Blessed John Henry Newman

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I am not sure why but there was a small spark of surprise as I read this today. I think perhaps that “assumed” that it was all written in Latin by Eugene and guess I never really thought much about it. A second spark could be seen as I thought of Albini working so hard at what he had been asked to do [translate the Rule from French into Latin] so that I could be ready to give a mission – the thing that he so badly wanted to do. I think of the many young men who have joined the Oblates over the years and who expected they would be sent to some strange new land as a missionary, but, who in the end remained at home perhaps to teach in schools here, or be pastors in local parishes. There had to have been disappointment, at least at first. I wonder if some of them didn’t think something along the lines of “well maybe if I get this task done really well, they’ll see how worthy I am and be sent to …..”. Measuring, trying to earn. Something I would suggest that perhaps many of us try to do. It doesn’t negate what we do, it simply seems to be a part of the human equation, or at least of my human equation.

    I have to admit that is how my mind works sometimes – I don’t often see it and yet when I look there is certainly some of that in there. A need to be recognized, a need to lead others and not follow. And in the middle of that there is truth and passion and a small little path that is barely discernible at times, the path that I will need to walk.

    I find myself in the middle of Newman’s quotation. I have been committed to a particular task, or perhaps a series of tasks, all seemingly unimportant and which to my eyes make very little difference to anyone in this world save perhaps myself. I have my mission which I wonder if I shall ever know in this life-time what it is. Perhaps in the small ordinary of my life I will be like Newman’s chain, a link between others. It is not grudgingly that I walk thus, nor is it with any surety of a particular outcome. I am unable to see, as does God, the outcome of what I do. My prayer has been “make me little, make me hidden, make me a lamp to my neighbors’ feet”. I think God is perhaps making that happen.

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