The young community was growing – and so were their expenses! In particular, all the candidates who came to join the Missionaries brought no income into the community during their years of formation. This was to be an ongoing source of concern for Eugene and Henri Tempier.

Writing to the community in Laus, Eugene chides them for their lack of financial organization and urges them to economize so as to be able to support those in formation.

The account that you render to me of the state of affairs at Notre Dame du Laus does not surprise me but I am not very pleased for it proves that there has been much neglect of the finances.
You should have remembered that we have a novitiate filled with very fine people but who do not have a penny and yet it is necessary to feed and clothe them.
I therefore urge you to be most economical and to be very orderly.

Letter to Jacques Marcou, 29 January 1825, EO VI n 167

The problem persists today in the Congregation with decreasing income throughout the world and increasing expenses for the formation of Oblates to be future missionaries. The need to economize, not just for the ideal of simplicity, but for practical sharing continues:

Since we are a missionary Congregation, the temporal goods of our Institute are, above all, at the service of the mission.” CC&RR, Constitution 150


“God has given us two hands — one to receive with and the other to give with. We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for giving.” Billy Graham

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Much to reflect on here this morning. My initial response on first reading this was to look at those early Oblates and wonder at how they were living that would cause Eugene to write as he did. No ready answers there so I moved forward in time to the present. To be honest it is so easy for me to judge others that maybe I should speak to my own life. Do I spend frivolously sometimes – of course I do. Do I waste things sometimes – I do and perhaps that is what Eugene was speaking to when he talked of being economical and orderly.

    It was though, the quote about hoarding from Billy Graham that I spent most of my time with. We know all about hoarding, we hear the term regularly – it’s a popular subject these days, there is even a ‘reality’ show about it on TV. “God has given us two hands — one to receive with and the other to give with. We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for giving.” That takes in so much more than just our belongings, what we have stored up, collected over the course of our lives.

    Yesterday afternoon I attended a concert at my parish church which was put on by three incredibly talented young people, a pianist and two violinists. They shared their joy in music. What a gift -to be able to sit and listen and enjoy. The cost of the concert – a free-will donation to the Women’s Centre, a specific ministry that offers a safe place for and supports disadvantaged women and children within our community. In more than one way these young people were sharing their god-given gifts with all of us.

    What talents do I try to hold on to and perhaps store for a rainy day? What gifts do I try to store away or protect? Do I put limits on what I give, on how much of myself I share? How fully do I participate in [share with others] love and life? Do I become a self-contained cistern with high walls to keep me separated and apart from others. Or will I become a channel, a bridge, a connecting point between and with others? The first sounds like death but the latter like life.

    Thank you Frank – a powerful way to start not only our day but also the week.

  2. David Morgan says:

    I released on the Chemin de St Jacques recently about giving and receiving. A friend named Sunny could Speak little French. I started making reservations for him at the next gite d’etape in my halting French. He accompanied me everyday and explained what life was like these days for a university students and son of immigrant parents. He introduced me to Nicole who had strong bilingual skills. We discussed Faith issues and he explained how he lost his Faith at a recent world youth day because of all the debauching going on. I explained why I believe in Christ and we left it at that. No trying to convince the other person they were wrong etc.

    I also spent a day or two in conversation with Nicole about her life. She explained how much she loved her son. The 3 of us kept running into each other. We were the 3 mouskateres for sure.

    In Conques, there was a lack of accommodation. Well Nicole had rented this 3 room apartment that had 2 couches and a separate bed room. She invited Sunny and I to stay with her. She had intended to offer the extra couches to 2 needy peregrinos and we were the first 2 she saw.

    When we parted in Conques, I gave Sunny one of the wooden rosaries I had brought along expressly for that purpose. He accepted it. That was a telling moment for me that he was still open to my witness. Life is good on the Chemin de St Jacques and elsewhere when you give and receive.

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