Eugene was scrupulous about not unnecessary expenses for himself. Writing to Tempier from Rome, he gives an insight into the steps that his frugality led him.

With this money I have paid my debts, that is to say, two months board in the house where I lodge….
It is my clothes that give me trouble. You should see the care I take with them. I take advantage of the dry weather to use my old trousers which have holes at both knees, between the legs, before and behind, but the cassock covers all. When it rains, I have to lift up this coverall and thus let them see too much. I have too many half shirts but as for my stockings, they are a torment. Every time I pull them on I cannot help making holes in them. Were I not obliged to appear every day before some Cardinal or other, I would not put off my old cassock, of which my fine cloak hides the creases. I put it on in the morning before going out. It takes nothing less than love of poverty to make me dress three times a day for in the evening, when I return, I change once more. It is because I am afraid I have clothes for only half the time I will be here.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 28 January 1826, EO VII n 221


“Our life of poverty is as necessary as the work itself. Only in heaven will we see how much we owe to the poor for helping us to love God better because of them.”    Mother Teresa

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “love of poverty” Eugene said. I do not know that I could or would ever say that.

    This morning I have thought about the clothes that I wear and how I use them sometimes to hide who I am, to try to ‘dress up’ who I am (present an image). Does my being okay depend on the clothes I wear, how I look, at the size of my house or where I live? I think that if I spend my time worrying about how I will look to others and so buying and trying to present a specific and not necessarily true image, I am focusing on something that is not necessarily healthy for me.

    I cannot say I know what it is to be very poor, to not have enough money to feed or clothe myself. But I do know another type of poverty, to be in a sense poor in spirit while at the same time feeling like I am rich beyond belief. It is in the sense that I am poor that I am able to see, recognize and the goodness of God in all, I can appreciate all that God gives to me and find God in all of that.

    It would seem though that no one should have to worry about wearing worse-than-threadbare hose or pants that have no longer seams. I would hope that somehow someone would give to Eugene some pants and stockings so that he would not feel shamed in his poverty or be given the chance to take pride in it (which I do not see happening here).

  2. Jack Lau, OMI says:

    Thanks Frank for this text.
    As I looked at the wholes in the knees of of of the brothers, I smiles as I read this text. It does show us what is important for Eugene. And cuff links and attire was not on his list. This text is not for all, but for some.

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