Once Eugene had expressed his feelings about the Oblates who were not living up to the lofty ideals of the Rule of Life, he realized that he had been too negative and unrealistic, and so he wrote to Henri Tempier on the next day:

I beg you, my dear friend, to burn the page which precedes. This outpouring is all right for you, from whom I have nothing to hide but were someone else to read it, he could interpret it badly and be persuaded that I little appreciate the brothers that God has given us while, quite certainly, there is a good number of them that I esteem.

Eugene certainly never spared himself in his efforts to help his Oblate sons to grow into zealous missionary achievers, while trusting in God.

Some cannot be in doubt that while loving them, I would wish them to be other than they are since I do not cease to tell them so and I write to them when the occasion presents itself. For the rest, we must bless the good God for the hopes that we have in the future.
The Blessed Alphonse de Liguori was not any more fortunate than we during his lifetime.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 1 August 1830, EO VII n 351

Fr. Tempier wrote in the margin of this letter, probably after the death of the Founder in 1861 “I did not at the time dare to tear up this letter and throw it in the fire, as my venerated Father bid me to do, still less will I do it today”.

“A church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.”   Abigail Van Buren

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I think for a moment of Jesus and the love he had for Peter who denied him three times, who after he had spoken Jesus said get behind me satan. He took Peter with him up to the mountain and revealed his true self to him (yesterday we celebrated the Feast of the Transfiguration). It is always the ‘both and’.

    This morning has inspired me to look at myself, at those who I love in my own communities. When I say that I love every single one of them what does it look like? For there are some that I struggle with even as I struggle sometimes within myself. As I reflect I realise that it is usually the behaviour of some of those that I struggle with, just as it is my own behaviour sometimes that gives me grief, just as it is for others who love me.

    Just as Eugene was able to look and say that even Blessed Ligouri had the same struggle with some who were members of what we now could call the Redemptorist family, I now look to Eugene and see how he struggled with some of his own sons. I see too, some who I struggle with in my own communities – not the person so much as their behaviour.

    Eugene begged Henri Tempier to burn the previous page of his letter – not because it was bad, but he did not want it to be read by others and misunderstood. He loved his sons such that he was not blind to their weaknesses, to the ways that their hearts could still grow (any more than he was blind to his own). It is due to love and grace that the letter still is with us today.

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