With all the painful difficulties experienced by Eugene during nearly two years, he shares with us a happy interlude in Switzerland provided by the young Oblates in formation. He was delighted by their zealous enthusiasm to prepare themselves to be missionaries and their contagious love for God.

I could go on endlessly if I wished to speak to you of all the good there is to say about everyone without exception. They are just what I could have wished, without however presuming to flatter myself about them. They have realized all my hopes, as much in respect to virtues as to bearing and conduct…
One has no idea of all the gestures of deference and affection they show me; it is truly a touching thing; so I feel very keenly the sorrow of leaving them, the more so because this community life amongst such fervent young people is something so pleasant that one does not notice any of the little privations that it imposes; it is truly a paradise on earth.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 1 November 1830, EO VII n 370


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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I think of the small things that Eugene is receiving and experiencing from the young Oblates, gestures of deference and affection – this in a time when they are all separated from their family members during the ongoing upheaval and struggles of their country. Eugene who is enjoying being with his sons even as he prepares to leave them. They are all in it together and even if it means upsetting some routines or schedules one hardly notices for the joy and love
    What might this look like in my everyday life? Last Wednesday and the return to volunteering at the university in the “OASIS” centre (a room where students gather to relax and be, or to find others to talk and share with). For now a temporary room as our regular space was still in the midst of reconstruction. We had borrowed tables and chairs and gifts brought in for us to use. We did not notice or focus on the small things that were missing, but rather we recognized all that there was. The people, the students, all who came to celebrate a new semester. The beauty, joy and gift of being together where we belonged in those moments of time. A little bit of heaven on earth.

    The words community and compassion come to mind and I think of what Fr. Louis Studer, OMI said in a recent interview. Those are, I think, very particular graces that God gives to us as we recognize the love and beauty around us.

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