Father Honorat had been the superior of the Oblate community in Nimes for three years and desired not to continue. Eugene relied heavily on the leaders of the local communities to maintain the religious life and mission according to the Oblate spirit. To this end he communicated regularly with each superior.

It is useless to ask to be freed from the leadership of others after three years of being the superior; we will see what will have to be done.

For Eugene the role of the local superior was one of being present to those entrusted to his care.

I even have trouble persuading myself that it is in keeping with good order to permit you a month’s absence in order to renew yourself, as you say, in the novitiate.
The place of a superior is at the head of his community; the graces of God will not be lacking to him when at his post.

Letter to Jean Baptiste Honorat, 9 August 1829, EO VII n 335

As difficult as this responsibility was for some of the Oblates, they are assured that God’s grace would give them the necessary strength for this ministry.

It is encouraging for us that in all ministry that we do in Jesus’ name, and in communion with him, we can be assured that he is ministering through us.


“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.” 2 Corinthians 12: 29

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    This morning, this reflection raises all sorts of questions and thoughts within me. The ministry of leadership as presence. No great ‘doing’ of things. No putting of one’s self out there. In fact it would seem that ‘self’ gets left behind. Not attractive and most certainly not a way that is being promoted in our times as the ‘way to be’, the way to become successful.

    Surrender – of self. It is like a small light bulb in my mind has been turned on. I begin to understand what I have noticed going on around me with some others. I have seen this type of leadership in my communities, and have not always understood it. The reminder of what it means to be not just a local superior, but in a leadership role – to be present to those entrusted to his/to her/to our care. This would and does I think, apply to each of us in some ways –it certainly feels like it applies to me in all that I do. It puts the word ‘leadership’ in a whole new light.

    For those around me – in the communities that intersect through my life, that are entrusted to my care by the very nature of love. How am I present to them? “It is encouraging for us that in all ministry that we do in Jesus’ name, and in communion with him, we can be assured that he is ministering through us.” Whose name do I do it in? Who am I in communion with?

    Will this morning’s reflection alter what I do? Probably not in great ways, but I hope it may begin to alter how I do what I do.

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