The Oblate community in Marseilles seemed to have lost its sense of direction and the impression that Eugene gives is that everyone was too frightened to face the issues.
I have spent two days at Calvaire in spite of receiving overly-nervous advice that would have discouraged me from this course. Perhaps I would have paid more attention to it if I had not felt duty-bound in conscience to attend to everyone’s welfare.
Taking into consideration the factors that had disturbed the community’s well-being, Eugene, as the congregational major superior was conscious of his duty to intervene for the good of all.
Both the force of circumstances on the one hand and sickness, death and other factors on the other had conspired to disturb our fidelity.
Before holding the community meeting, he had met with each member privately to give him a fair hearing.
Before crossing the threshold, I heard each one in private.
Then he brought what he had heard to prayer:
In the presence of the Blessed Sacrament I pondered on the persons and matters concerned.
Only then did he call the community together – fully conscious that he was not acting by his own authority, but according to the authority of the Rule of Life, to which each Oblate had made a public commitment.
Then, with the Rule in my hand, I proceeded to re-establish the good order without which I would have had no title to enter the house.
It must be said, to everyone’s credit, that the matter needed only a half-hour conference in the course of which I put everything in its rightful place and from that moment everything has gone perfectly.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 6 March 1831, EO VIII n 386
The method had worked: concern for the welfare of the community, gather the facts, reflect on them in prayer, and then using the light of the Rule and its authority, help the community to make its decisions.