What did the newly-formed group of Missionaries do on 25 January 1816?
A few weeks’ before, Eugene had written to Henri Tempier about his program for this day:
At this meeting we will draw up the Rule which we will have to follow.
We will confer on the manner in which we will carry out our good work.
We will help each other mutually with advice and with all that the good God will inspire in each of us for our common sanctification.
We will then issue our first declaration for the edification of the Church and of the people. This will be a decisive step.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 13 December 1815, EO VI n.7
After nearly 3 years of working with his youth association members, Eugene knew how essential it was to have a Rule to keep the group together and moving in the same direction. For him a Rule was much more than a book of regulations to ensure the efficient functioning of a group: a Rule was the putting into words of the ideal that inspired the group, the vision which was to guide their daily actions, and the means to achieve their ideals.
Later, Eugene was to charge Henri Tempier with the drawing up of a more definitive Rule:
… Busy yourself with our Statutes. … Spend two hours every day at this occupation. … Read again St. Philip of Neri and the Petition that we have presented to the Vicars General…
Letter to Henri Tempier, 15 December 1816, EO VI n.16
“When ancient opinions and rules of life are taken away, the loss cannot possibly be estimated. From that moment, we have no compass to govern us, nor can we know distinctly to what port to steer.” Edmund Burke