We have told above how Eugene acquitted himself of his homework. It seems his masters and in particular Father Scati were also happy with his good sense, for he was admitted to first communion before the age of ten. He had this joy on Holy Thursday in the year 1792. Prior to this, apparently finding him more sensible than his fellows, he was made prefect over his dormitory.
His father, ever attentive to direct from a distance Eugene’s mental impressions, wrote him again on this subject to advise him to make use in a proper manner of this authority, and to make allowances for his companions’ weaknesses.
Father Rector and the other Fathers always held him in great affection, and held him up as a model. For this child was endowed with qualities rarely found in one of that age. He had the opportunity to exhibit them at various times when he was able to make use of his seniority in his dormitory to maintain the good spirit the Superiors wanted to see prevailing there.

Diary of the Exile in Italy, EO XVI p. 29

A note on the text. The Diary of the Exile in Italy contains sections written by Eugene himself, and other written in the third person. Some of these could have been written by Eugene (as in the “Diary of the Youth Congregation” he writes in the third person). Other parts were written by Father Achille Rey, who knew Eugene and his mother well and would have been reporting what he learnt directly from them. The original handwritten manuscript no longer exists, but was published in “Missions” in 1866.


“Leadership cannot really be taught. It can only be learned.” Harold S. Geneen

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    My thoughts this morning are more of a looking back over our retreat in this past week rather than on leadership. The retreat was on Vatican II in the Life of the Church and in Oblate Life Today and was given by a bishop, who is an Oblate. Over four and half days we were invited to look at some of the documents coming out of Vatican II, always in view of scripture, particularly the New Testatment, the Gospels.

    I had gone in faith, secretly worrying about whether there would be anything there for me, a lay person who struggles so much with the church that I love so dearly. I look back this morning and can only say that we were led. Presence, giving witness, being imbued with love, vulnerability, sharing of oneself, tender care, truth, risk and daring – all of these qualities, these gifts were how we were led. I heard and experienced Saint Eugene speaking many times and I discovered (not for the first time) the tenderness of the Church, our holy Mother Church as she spoke to and with me in those documents which were based and founded in Jesus, in God, in the Word of God. Our last morning was all about lambs and shepherds, an incredibly gentle way of looking at all of ourselves and how we are both.

    Leadership born out of love. Leadership lived out of love Leadership shared out of love. I think this morning of Eugene’s words: “We must lead the people to act like human beings, first of all, and then like Christians, and , finally, we must help them to become saints.” I think of how Jesus did it, of how Eugene did it, how it was done this past week by a man of love, how we are called to do it. I think of how I am both the lamb and the shepherd. I have again been given the opportunity to witness and lead. Geneen was right for leadership was not taught but more shared and given, presented to us. There was inherent in it the invitation to learn and, to follow and to take it on. We were shepherded and sent forth to do the same. That is leadership.

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