The undersigned priests …
-have the honour of requesting from you the authorization to come together at Aix in the old house of the Carmelites which one of them has acquired; and to live there in community under a Rule whose main points they now indicate to you:
The first point that they indicated was:
The end of this Society is not only to work for the salvation of others by dedicating itself to the ministry of preaching; its chief aim also includes providing its members with the means necessary to practice the virtues of religion to which they are so strongly attached that the greater number of them would have consecrated themselves for life to their observance in some religious order, did they not nurture the hope of finding in the Missionaries’ community more or less the same advantages as in the religious state to which they wanted to dedicate themselves.
Request to the Capitular Vicars of Aix, 25 January 1816, O.W. XIII n.2
Eugene was an “all-or-nothing” person and he wanted a 100% dedication to God and a 100% dedication to evangelizing the most abandoned at the same time. From the beginning he understood the commitment of religious life as the way for him to bring these two ideals together. His companions, however, were diocesan priests – not all of whom saw things exactly as he did. They generously wanted to give themselves to God and to the salvation of others, but without making vows. This paragraph of their first Rule shows the compromise that was to last for nearly three years: live the spirit of religious life but without making vows.
Eugene was so convinced of the need for a formal consecration that he and Henri Tempier were to make private vows ten weeks’ later. For him it was a question of all or nothing!