A TEACHER WHOSE INFLUENCE NEVER DIED

The house where Eugene was living in Rome was the place where Father Bartolo Zinelli was buried. What this young priest had been in Eugene’s life as an adolescent, Eugene himself had aimed at being in the lives of the young people of Aix, when he had worked with them from 1813 to 1823.

And have I not found the memory, the bust and even the body buried in the church of this holy priest, of whom you have heard me speak so often, of this great servant of God, Father Bartolo Zinelli, who was my teacher at Venice, who died in the odor of sanctity under this very roof which shelters me? The cause of his beatification would have been launched long ago if the Society of which he was a member had not been dissolved, because of the misconduct of its head, the famous Paccanari, who finished so badly after having made a good beginning.
But my dear teacher, this good friend who could only console himself at my departure, so he wrote me, by going up to the altar to pray for me, he only had virtues, and the Bishop of the place where he preached his last mission wished to proceed to authenticate by act a prophecy which be made in his diocese and which came true…
God has not willed apparently to glorify his servant here below… It is not less of a consolation for me to breathe the same air, to offer the holy sacrifice on the same altars, to be able to pray at his tomb. It is the same everywhere.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 6 December 1825, EO VI n 210

 See the article, “Zinelli, Bartolo (1766-1803) in the Oblate Historical Dictionary I: http://www.omiworld.org/dictionary.asp?v=5&vol=1&let=Z&ID=1025

 

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” Henry Adams

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One Response to A TEACHER WHOSE INFLUENCE NEVER DIED

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    What a consolation it must have been for Eugene to stay in the very house where his friend had stayed, died and been buried. This man who had helped with laying the base of the fire which would burn so strongly throughout Eugene’s life. It must have been wonderful for Eugene to be able to sit and visit with his old friend, to talk and bring him up-to-date on what he was now all about, why he was there in Rome, to receive approval of his new community, of what we now know as the Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

    I think of some of the teachers who have been a part of my life, most of them never a part of the ‘school system’ which I may or may not have taken part in. But teachers they were as they shared who they were and what they were about in their lives with God. Some played major roles while others I may have met only briefly but they each played a part and influenced me on my journey. They shared themselves with me and I shamelessly took what they offered, allowing that gift of themselves to become a part of who I am. I am “a part of all that I have met…”

    I ask myself if I am a teacher in any way. Do I offer any kernels, seeds of hope or life to others by being who I am or loving as I do? Eugene wrote; “God has not willed apparently to glorify his servant here below… It is not less of a consolation for me to breathe the same air, to offer the holy sacrifice on the same altars, to be able to pray at his tomb. It is the same everywhere.” When I look at the influence that Bartolo Zinelli had on Eugene and the life he lived, perhaps we are each of us called to be Don Bartolos in life. We walk in faith, sharing who we are in the ordinary of our lives. Perhaps that is where our best self lives, perhaps that will be our greatest achievement of all.

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