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

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    It is as Frank states “While open to the will of God, Eugene remained practical.” I dare say he was thinking not only of those giving the mission, but also of those who were on the receiving end. It is the two together that make it work for as we have learned the missionaries go out, are sent to share and teach, but also to receive and learn from as they come back in – it is a ebb and flow kind of movement. Each has something to offer the other. I dare say that this man who taught his family to “be in order to do” knew full well that if they never took time to rest they were short-changing themselves, the members of their community and those to whom they were giving the mission. “When do we take time to receive and be filled, to look at what we have been given and received?” It has to be about more than just those who are leading, guiding, shepherding, it has to be about both.

    This past weekend I gave my Reflection on the readings at all of our Masses. It was all about God’s infinite and even exquisite love, transformative and spectacularly brilliant [God’s love that is – not necessarily my reflection]. I had spent a fair bit of time corralling my thoughts and what I wanted to say, then to shave that down to what was at the kernel of my thoughts (I hold the image of the potter taking the lump of clay and then fashioning the piece so that after getting rid of the extraneous there was just the beauty pulled out and shared.) “what will you have me say Lord”, listening and waiting to receive the words. Finding myself wanting so much to be able to share ‘the good news’ – am I saying that? But that’s what I was wanting to do, to break open the Word of God and share what I have gotten out of it. Speaking of a love so awesome and wondrous it can be hard to find the words that give full expression to what I know and experience. And in sharing it I do not just want for those who hear me to say what a good speaker I am, or that was nice. I guess I hope that they will hear what I say and will have it become a part of their lives. When I had finished my last Mass I was able to let go of something and found myself curiously empty and drained. I spent time enough to eat with a friend and then came home to crash and not do much of anything. The afternoon and today and the coming weeks will be about God filling me and looking at how God does just that. Looking at how do I live out what I spoke of and shared in my reflection. “Discernment in the Lord guides me in my way of …” living.

  2. Ken Hart says:

    The more I look at how the church evolved in France after the revolution the more I am , by the number of missionary movements that sprung up to meet the needs of those abandoned by the church when it was under intense attack by secular forces. All this seems to be very familiar, a sign of the times for our own times as well.

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