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