Jean Baptiste Mille was 22 years old when he was made superior of the young Oblates in formation in the scholasticate of Billens. Eugene had had no choice but to appoint him because of the crisis in France that had caused them to move to Switzerland. Because of his youth and inexperience, Eugene kept in regular contact with him to guide him.

He had just recently been ordained a priest, and was bursting to express his pastoral zeal in preaching and celebrating the sacraments whenever he could in the surrounding parishes. The problem was that he also had the responsibility of caring for the students and needed to be at home more.

I see that you are being rather generous to the town of Romont. But you must learn to pace yourself, not too much, not too little.

On the question of receiving stipends for his preaching:

… I understand you have always refused any payment for sermons you have been able to preach to them. That is how it should always be when you have the happiness of proclaiming the Word of God to them.

Letter to Jean Baptiste Mille, 15 April 1831, EO VIII n 389

“Freely you received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8)

This entry was posted in WRITINGS. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I have sat this morning thinking about ‘volunteering’ and about ‘ministering’ and there is within me a small sadness as I realise that I tend to think that others minister and that I ‘only’ volunteer. A couple of weeks ago a friend wrote a few words about my ‘ministry’ and although I loved the idea of me being in ministry it scared me. I have been looking at ministry as being for someone else – with that someone else being a religious or a cleric – or a very holy person (I have known a few). I have no idea where or if I heard that ministry was only for a few ‘special’ people, but that idea had most certainly found a place to live within me.

    My ‘brokenness’ has once again worked its way to my consciousness, and I recognize it with a groan. So what is the difference? This morning I look at how and where and why I volunteer? It is born out of love, every bit of it. It is not so much the desire to want to do something good but rather it is more instinctual, more like my breathing without thinking about it.

    I think of the words of St. Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal 2:20). Of course writing that I feel I should explain that I am nowhere near as holy or good as St. Paul. Not this time, not today. There is goodness within me, put there by God when I was loved into being. Today I want to claim, sit in and with it. Ministry – I like the ‘feel’ of that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *