Continuing his advice to Henri Tempier, as he visits each Oblate in Eugene’s name, he deals with two difficult persons. In each case, he looks for the good and the possibilities of growth in each one – and the necessary correction to achieve the growth.

I cannot go too far in recommending Bro. Ricard to you; he is a good child, but a weakling. I do not think he studies at all and you know how ignorant he is. Confront him with his duties kindly but firmly.

Again, show him that he is loved, but also make sure that he observes the Rule:

If you can persuade this odd fellow, Biallez, to go and spend some time at the novitiate in order to prepare himself for profession, I think we could still get some good out of him. Do not treat him during your visit quite as a stranger. This is rather an affected attitude that he maintains…. Send me word as to what keeps him going, tell him on my behalf that we love him as a good brother, but that it is impossible for me not to expect him to be diligent in observing the Rule.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 16 July 1829, EO VII n 333

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    What do I do with this I ask myself.

    As I read this I reflect on how flexible and how open Eugene and the Oblates were to those who felt called to try and live this specific way of life. Their own personalities were not beaten out of them, but still they were called and asked to surrender themselves. And just as the Oblates opened themselves to others. those wishing to be a part of the Oblate Family had to open themselves to a specific way of living, to a specific Rule of Life. The word ‘communion’ comes to mind.

    This Rule of Life that seems to resonate within me. In the past few months it has been a part of my daily reflections; it has danced before me, touched me, seduced me. I have told myself that I would wait until I see my spiritual director but this morning it has again confronted me and I need to acknowledge – to myself at least how I am drawn to this quite specific way of living, not as a priest or a brother, not as a religious sister, but rather as I am called to live as a lay person.

    I remember 35 years ago arriving at the doorsteps of Madonna House – the place and people there though welcoming and loving terrified me – especially the founder Catherine. There was not a moment that passed when I did not want to run away as far as possible – it was terrifying to have to face that love and all that went with it. I was stubborn and I did not want to fail at anything (as I felt that I had failed with life most miserably until then) and so I made myself stay – saying that I would not fail again and that if they wanted me to leave they would have to tell me to go – I put it on them. Not the best of reasons for staying and being there but it did work out. They, like Eugene and the Oblates were with Bro Ricard and with the odd fellow Biallez, were firm but loving and when the time came for me to go I did.

    My spiritual director accompanies me, suggests, affirms, prays and walks with me, but only I can say yes to this invitation. I have grown up a little since then and have learned to take responsibility in my life. I do not do this blindly, or on my own, but I will do it, with the help and direction of others around me.

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