On his way to Switzerland, Eugene stopped at Notre Dame du Laus where he made a canonical visitation

Hippolyte Guibert had been appointed superior of the community a year before, when he was 26 years old. He had some difficult persons in his community who did not always maintain the prescriptions of the Oblate Rule of Life – and he had allowed concessions.

Eugene shared his unhappy reaction to the situation with Henri Tempier, his confidant:

We must never permit these concessions, they are allowed for a while and then we forget to maintain the precept and it is thus that abuses creep in.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 11 July 1830, EO VII n 347

…There is no doubt that Fr. Guibert possesses better than anyone of his house the spirit of our vocation; he might have been mistaken in his way of doing things but in substance he is right.

Eugene had a few days in ND du Laus on his way to Switzerland, and had had to rectify the situation, because conformity to the Rule was essential for the life and successful ministry of the missionaries:

With only three days to spend in this community, I have had to act with a mixture of mildness and firmness.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 26 July 1830, EO VII n 349

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    The Oblate Rule of Life, the Constitutions and Rules. I can remember my ‘reaction’ the first couple of times that I heard of them – inner panic and fear. But this morning it is different for even as I read the title my inner response is that of ‘beloved’.

    I think back to the ‘rules’ of life throughout time which perhaps some experience and live more than others do. The 1st rule given to Adam and Eve and then later the 10 Commandments. The rules of my parent’s house when I was small and then the many rules of life that learned going to Church and to school – some of them restrictive. The 12 Steps of AA which allowed for a new kind of life, freeing, allowing me to ‘become’ and to grow. And knowing intuitively (and others told me) that if concessions were made – if I tried to water them down and make them ‘easier’ to follow then I would lose everything, all of the life that I had received and the way to keep it.

    Returning to the Church – again more rules but they did not seem so restrictive but were more like the 12 Steps and slowly they too became rules that allowed a very real freedom of my spirit.

    The Oblate Rule of Life which I very slowly began to look at. I have come to believe that the very spirit of Eugene, his charism is shared with us in the Constitutions and Rules. In a way I think of how I have ‘fallen in love with them’ for I find them to be the embodiment of St. Eugene’s spirit, of his charism that he shares with all of us as we are called to live. The Spirit was not stingy in bestowing Eugene with wisdom. And just as I knew that I could not relax or ‘water down’ the 12 Steps of AA in my life, he knew that to make concessions of the Oblate Rule of Life would be to allow the death of part of the very specific way of living for his Oblates.

    Today the Oblate Rule of Life contains not only the lived spirit and charism of Eugene but also of the Oblates who have lived it and added their own charism to it. Perhaps that is why it remains so relevant and is so inclusive to all who want to follow it. It’s all in how we look at it.

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