The next three points of our first Rule seem very dry and technical, but underneath them is a wealth of feeling.
On entering the Society, the Missionaries must resolve to persevere in it until the end of their lives.
The Society is pledged to look after each of its members despite infirmities that may arise either from old age or from the labours of their ministry.
It accepts no obligations with regard to those who may leave its ranks.
Request to the Capitular Vicars of Aix, 25 January 1816, O.W. XIII n.2
Those entering the Missionaries of Provence became part of a family, to which they commited themselves heart and soul, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse… until death. The central concept used constantly by Eugene to describe the Congregation was that of the family. The pages of his writings are filled with heartfelt references to his religious family. An example from 1830:
Charity for our neighbour is again an essential part of our spirit. We practice it first amongst us by loving each other as brothers, by considering our Society only as the most united family which exists on the earth, by rejoicing over the virtues, the talents and other qualities that our brothers possess just as much as if we possessed them ourselves, in bearing with mildness the little faults that some have not yet overcome, covering them over with the mantle of the most sincere charity, etc…
Letter to Hippolyte Guibert, 29 July 1830, O.W. VII n.350
Another example of the father of the family showing his love for his missionary Congregation as he sends Fr Tempier to Canada to do a visitation of the Oblate communities in his name:
Go then in the name of the Lord, well-beloved son, towards that part of our family which is separated from us by so great a distance, which we have always present and intimately united to us, following it as we do with all the affection of our heart.
Mandate of Visitation to Henri Tempier, 1 May 1851, O.W. II n. 145