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