Father Victor-Antoine Arnoux, 24 years old, was dying in Aix after less than two years after his priestly ordination.

Here we are then menaced by another misfortune; we will lose this angelic Fr. Arnoux. Why have you consented to their sending him to Fuveau? What do you hope from this change? … I do not like our sick, especially when they are ripe for heaven, to leave our houses at the risk of dying without being assisted by their brothers. If you are in time, get this decision changed; it is not to my liking; or rather it is not fitting.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 24 June 1828, EO VII n 304

Eugene’s model of community was that of Jesus and the apostles. The spirit within that community had to be that of a family, caring for each other at all times, especially in sickness and death. At these times he wanted the one who was suffering to be surrounded by the solidarity, love and care of his brothers, and of the spiritual support they gave.

May we always realize how important it is to provide support and solidarity to those around us who are in need of our presence.


“There is no stability without solidarity and no solidarity without stability.”   Jose Manuel Barroso

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I am able to read and reflect once again in this place and continue to marvel at God’s sense of timing. It is not often that I cannot relate somehow to Eugene’s writings and today is no different.

    I think of two things this morning upon reading this. The first is remembering Eugene visiting the the sick and they dying when he first came back to Aix after his ordination. Franks statement of “May we always realize how important it is to provide support and solidarity to those around us who are in need of our presence.” gives rise to an image of Eugene being a presence particularly with the elderly who may have been alone and so would have treasured his presence when he visited them.

    The second is that yesterday afternoon I had the occasion to go to the local emergency – not seriously ill but perhaps a little dehydrated. I do not do well in hospitals, I am uncomfortable trying to answer questions about my body in measurements that I am unaccustomed to using. And in writing this I realise that I was extremely uncomfortable in separating the various things happening in my body – I had the chills, I had been suffering from diarrhea for almost 4 days, I had no energy at all and could only doze. I was looking at the whole package while at the hospital they were interested in only a couple of things. I felt inadequate and alone. Of course all of the hospital staff, the nurses and the doctors were really very good to me, they were excellent. Part of the disconnect for me was perhaps that I was alone and I found that a little bit difficult. As I was leaving the hospital last night I noticed that there were quite a few people there – alone, on their own and I wondered how they were feeling.

    All this from being just a little bit sick and not dying like Fr. Arnoux. I feel keenly this morning what Frank has written abut those in need of our presence,

  2. jack lau, omi says:

    Caring for my/our brother have been for me the most formation learning that I have.I remember Frak Dolan,omi said if you can’t care your brother who is dieing you ought discern well you vocation to this particular community. LJC etMI

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