While Eugene rejoiced in the example and achievements of the majority of his Oblate brothers, there were also those who were not constant and did not enter fully into the spirit of their vocation. While Eugene had been literally moving heaven and earth in Rome to achieve the approbation of the Oblates and ensure the future of the congregation, he received news that the Oblate novice Nicolas Riccardi had abandoned the community at Aix.

Your letter of the 6th has arrived… but certainly, if what I am giving you is good news, what you give me in return is detestable. What good is it if heaven and earth compete with each other to help us here when hell takes away what we have at home? So it goes! This is just like the beginnings of the Redemptorists but they would recuperate on the one hand what they lost with the other. No matter, nothing happens except what God permits, let us not lose courage …

Letter to Henri Tempier, 16 February 1826, EO VII n 224

Aware that a vocation to religious life and priesthood came from God, he looks to God to give him courage in the face of lack of perseverance on the part of some.


“Many people mistake our work for our vocation. Our vocation is the love of Jesus.”   Mother Teresa

This entry was posted in LETTERS and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Here we have a young man leaving the novitiate for whatever reason but Eugene seems to treat it as if it is part of a great evil. Out of hurt perhaps because I am sure that Eugene must have given his love to the young man who had looked at joining the congregation.

    A long time ago I was a guest (for a few years) with a community that taught me what love was all about and how to let myself be loved – I used to describe them saying they loved me into being. How life-giving it was to be there with those people that I came to love and where the spirituality was so rich. I could perform and “do” whatever they asked of me (in fact I was really good at that). I remember saying aloud one day that it would be a safe way to live. Having uttered the words there was nothing I could do to take them back and I knew that my time there was coming to an end – whether I wanted it to or not. It was not where I was called to be. It took courage to leave and and to try to listen to where God would have me be. I did not feel that I had abandoned anyone (not even myself) any more than when I had left my family out west and had come east (although I do understand why my siblings felt that I had abandoned them). I was simply following my heart and where Jesus was calling me to be.
    I am sure it took great courage for young Nicolas Riccardi to leave the community just as it took courage for my friend who left the Associates, or another who left the Church. Persevering for the sake of persevering might not be the best of reasons to stay where we are. And when it gets right down to it, who am I to judge.

    God grant me the courage to always look at where I am and rather than settling for safety or comfort. Open the ears of my heart that I be able to listen to where you call me to follow you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *