In the case of the doubts around the suitability of Riccardi for Oblate life, Eugene had given him the benefit of the doubt. But, as superior of the Oblates, Eugene had taken a risk – convinced that the benefits of community would have made up for the young man’s failings.
Perhaps, if I had acted in my twofold capacity, I would have kept in mind the risk which the Society incurred through the lacks in your character but, being sure of the good that would result for you from entering the Society in which and with the help of which you would put to good advantage the talents that the good God had given you, while otherwise they would be almost useless, and also convinced you would find therein a powerful remedy against your perplexities and doubts, I do not say your scruples in the wake of the stubborn, multiple and voluntary faults that you had the boldness to commit, I did not hesitate for I believed you had a conscience, feelings, a heart.
To convince him, Eugene repeats the ideals which the community strives to be:
I did not doubt you would be enamoured right from the start with all the delight to be found in a family devoted to God and to the Church, making great strides in the ways of perfection, of which some of the members were preparing themselves by the practice of the most excellent virtues to become worthy ministers of the mercy of God to the people, while the others, by assiduous work and efforts of zeal that would be admirable in the greatest saints, reproduce the marvels operated by the preaching of the first disciples of the Gospel.
Letter to Nicolas Riccardi, 17 February 1826, EO VII n 225
“Our duty is to encourage everyone in his struggle to live up to his own highest idea, and strive at the same time to make the ideal as near as possible to the Truth.” Swami Vivekananda