Throughout these hectic days when Eugene was spending all his time shepherding the progress of the application for approbation of the Oblates, what gave him the inner strength to keep him going? It was his constant striving to live united with God, and with the members of his Oblate family in France. In particular, it was the gift that he had of being able to share deeply with Henri Tempier. He had written:

it truly seems that the good God wills me to pursue my task while united to him, and he does not let me offend him, at least not in a manner I can perceive.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 4 January 1826, EO VII n 216

 I begin, my dear Fr. Tempier, by rectifying a statement of my last letter which would be too absurd and ridiculous were I not writing in intimacy and trustfulness to a friend, the confidant of my most secret thoughts; certainly I would not have let it slip out with any other person.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 10 January 1826, EO VII n 217

 The need for deep friendship was an important feature of Eugene’s personality. Henri Tempier was the one to whom he was the closest: his first Oblate companion, his vicar in the Oblates, his assistant vicar-general in Marseille, and his confessor, spiritual accompanier and “life-coach” until his death. Together they endeavored to live in unity with God and to lead others to the same relationship. Here was the source of Eugene’s strength in the most difficult moments.

This spirit is expressed in our Rule of Life:

“Sincere friendship can foster the growth of an apostolic person, enabling one to love others as Jesus loves them.”     CC&RR, Rule 18b

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    This mornings fare gave me at first a little heartache, one that I am ashamed to admit to because I found at first myself being a little envious of the wonderful relationship that Eugene had with Henri Tempier. I began by telling myself that perhaps I am too needy (as in not right) and that I want too much for a friend where I can share outside of myself my thoughts, struggles, joys and discoveries.

    Yesterday there was the little gift of seeing another way that Eugene gave of himself, his all to God and then being gently led into looking deeper into myself at how I might find different ways of giving my all to God. Not as well known or as big as Eugene and many others, but still big – for it is my all. It was a small gift of getting to know Eugene better for he inspires and leads me. I think were I to have a ‘hero’ it might be him.

    As I write this, I realize that I come here daily and speak my thoughts, my struggles, my secrets, my weaknesses and my strengths. I do this confident that they will be respected and that I will receive all that I need in return – in ways that I have not necessarily expected. I re-look and see how God has given me much. Here I can be as honest as was Eugene, as intimate, able to share who I am and receive in return equal amounts of love from a lot of different people, be they meeting me in person, in letters, in writings or in prayer. I have been given so much. On my own I would never be able to love as God loves me, it is only with others that I see it come alive and be reflected outward. Not of my own, but only what has been given and then shared with others.

    This morning I start out my day a little rueful, but grateful. Here am I Lord, ready to do as you will, ready to be sent to share all that I have been given.

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