We resume our exploration of Eugene’s journey to Rome in 1825 to ensure the continuity of the Oblates. His main reason for stopping in Turin was to meet with the leaders of the congregation of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary – with a view to a possible fusion of this Italian group with the Oblates in France. The ideals and spirit of both groups were very similar.
Early in the morning, I set about delivering a letter of recommendation that they had given me at Nice for the theologian Gualia. I found him a most respectable man, who received me with a fraternal cordiality… I felt very much at ease in this community. One of the principal members, who is head of the missions (which, in parenthesis, last only eight or ten days in these parts), took it upon himself after dinner to have me visit all over the city, with a pleasantness, a charm that I could not describe to you.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 8 November 1825, EO VI n 205
Eight days later, Eugene wrote again to Tempier about this visit:
I did not have time to finish my letter at Turin because the great theologian Lanteri, having arrived, asked me for the favor of granting all the free time that I would have before my departure. There was altogether so much to gain from his conversation that I had no trouble in granting him a favor from which I ought to derive more benefit than he. This holy, good and wise person is the master, friend and superior of the other theologian, Guala, of whom I have spoken to you in my other letters. From the first moment of our first interview, I prompted in him as much affection and confidence as I experienced veneration for him. It was so to speak a repetition of what took place with Dom Guala, with the difference that being head and master, he put no limit to the marks of confidence that he gave me. Had I come to Turin only to see these two men, my time and the money of my uncle would have been well employed. I cannot tell you in writing what was the subject of the ten or twelve hours of these conferences; the subject was worth the trouble. I need to tell you about this face-to-face.in the morning, I set about delivering a letter of recommendation that they hademployed. I cannot tell you in writing what was the subject of the ten or twelve hours of these conferences; the subject was worth the trouble. I need to tell you about this face-to-face.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 16 November 1825, EO VI n. 207
Yvon Beaudoin fills in the picture of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary: “A congregation founded in Carignano (Turin) in 1816… It was Abbé G. B. Reynaudi who initially gathered a few priests at Carignano in 1816. On the advice of the theologian, Luigi Guala, he asked Lanteri to take charge of the group. The institute had set as its goal the spiritual exercises of the clergy, parish missions according to the method of Saint Ignatius, formation of the clergy, absolute fidelity to the directives of the Holy See, etc.” (“Oblates of the Virgin Mary” in the Historical Dictionary, volume I – http://www.omiworld.org/dictionary.asp?v=5&vol=1&let=O&ID=887)
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