A second group which showed interest in joining the Oblates was a small missionary group around a Father Favre. Eugene delayed his return to Aix and Marseille so as to meet with him.
A man who is remarkable for his virtues and for the success of his ministry has with ardent zeal sought for a long time precisely what we are in a position to offer him, namely the clearly predictable advantages of a union which would prepare the way to an establishment in Savoy, and the almost certain hope of obtaining a good number of excellent members. Such an opportunity seems to afford a powerful incentive, and a still more authoritative indication of Providence, which I cannot permit myself to neglect.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 30 May 1826, EO VII n 246
While open to the will of God, Eugene remained practical. A week later, he observed this group making all the same mistakes that the zealous young Oblates had made in the excessive zeal of their beginnings:
M. Favre is a man of merit, acting only for God; although simple in his manners and neglectful of his person, he enjoys in these regions a reputation which stifles all ill will. He will have at his disposition all the resources of which he will have need for in his work and it appears that he will not want for members.
I do not see however that a great number of members have joined him; those he has here with him seem devoted but I found them quite weak; they are exhausted even physically; for the work they do is excessive. They are on the twelfth mission which they have done without rest. This, from our point of view, would not do; they are not pleased themselves. I admit that I do not conceive how, the way they are going, they can be effective anywhere. They persist just the same in believing that their method is excellent.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 10 June 1826, EO VII n 248
“My choices, including those related to the day-to-day aspects of life, like the use of a modest car, are related to a spiritual discernment that responds to a need that arises from looking at things, at people and from reading the signs of the times. Discernment in the Lord guides me in my way of governing.” Pope Francis