The prevalent feeling in Rome was that the Pope was not formally approving any new religious congregations. Instead he would give a blessing to the work and encourage them to continue – only by “graces and indulgences”. Eugene needed the formal approbation to give the Oblates a confirmed and protected status that could not be ignored or taken away by the local bishops in France. He thus tried every possible way to gain this.

I have not yet seen the Holy Father and I am not annoyed at that because I am not yet prepared. Only yesterday did I finish the petition which I propose to present to him; I filled four pages of large paper. Before composing it, I had to work on the language.
Shall I tell you? They give me little hope. Cardinal de Gregorio, to whom I had been warmly recommended from Turin and who has treated me with much friendship, who has already given me a dinner and a thousand courtesies, has told me positively that he does not believe that the Pope would give his formal approbation; that he could however, by graces and indulgences, recognize and be presumed to approve indirectly.
… I have begged the Cardinal to speak to the Pope beforehand in my favor; he will not fail. I had previously seen the Cardinal Vicar who, it seems, will have spoken to him of me. If the audience is delayed a little, other Cardinals will be able to render me the same service. In the meantime, I have not wasted my time and since graces ought, in the absence of all else, to signify something, I have asked some which will carry weight. For this I have gone to see the prelate who is Secretary of the Propaganda , who is disposed not to refuse me anything. He will present my requests immediately to the Pope.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 9 December 1825, EO VI n 211


“Working hard overcomes a whole lot of other obstacles. You can have unbelievable intelligence, you can have connections, you can have opportunities fall out of the sky. But in the end, hard work is the true, enduring characteristic of successful people”     Author unknown

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    God continues to amaze me, surprise me and delight me! I look at Eugene and the work he had to go through to receive papal approval of his congregation. There were delays and changes. Eugene found himself having to defend his way of life and sell it, and make changes and adjustments (I am thinking of the change of name) and the subtle changes that would entail. No straight lines here, but a lot of bends and curves. And yet through it all Eugene continued to grow stronger and receive affirmation from new sources. And he seems to recognize the strengthening when he says “I am not annoyed at that…” I am thinking ‘ever open to the will of God’. A little adversity and we either give up or go deeper and grow stronger. It was for Eugene I think a forgone conclusion – it would be always the latter.

    It is like that in my life. Headed in one direction that does not appear to be necessarily approved-of or disapproved-of, but it does not appear that anyone will be picking me up and carrying me on their shoulders in order that I get to where I must go. Others are watchful perhaps, prayerful, but this is something that I must discover for myself, this is something that I must do. I can give up and walk away (not a real option) or continue on. And in continuing on I grow stronger and come to know myself more deeply, catch glimpses of where I might stand in the great scheme of things. I am not leading, but rather following in my own way. I find myself receiving small encouragements from unexpected corners. Because they are unsolicited they are all the sweeter, and I treasure them, these wonderful gifts.

    Eugene said “In the meantime, I have not wasted my time and since graces ought, in the absence of all else to signify something, I have asked some which will carry weight.” My obstacles seem small and inconsequential when compared to Eugene’s, but they are mine. So I have simply continued on living as I must and being open to whatever God will have me be and do. God gives me many blessings and much joy in living thusly. This morning I received from a friend; “God will help you be a leader of excellence and compassion.” Not what I expected to hear from him, actually not sure that I wanted to hear that for as I read it there was a small joy and smile which then began to crumple. I am not sure this is the road I would have chosen for myself, any more than Eugene would have his. I did not seek out this support but it is turning out to be a wonderful base of friendship and love. Sort of like the base of family/community, we move out from it and then return for support, healing and love and then once again go out.

    Thank you God for the surprise of this day and all that you give me to face it and move into it.

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