In the climate of anti-religious thought and persecution, it was essential for the missionaries to be well-prepared.

I would like some at least to prepare themselves for the polemics for which the enemies of the faith have such a facility and for which they show such talent.
See that they both speak and write well. Think up some exercises that will give them the facility for this.
Develop each one’s natural aptitudes.

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

The scholasticate superior is encouraged to recognize the natural talents of the students and to help them to develop their gifts.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Essential for the missionaries to be well prepared for the ‘polemics’ (had to look up that word) and that their natural gifts, talents be developed. This said to the Superior, but I am sure that he is also talking about the ‘job’ of teachers, parents, family, etc.

    For the first time I recognize something about my own learning, about those who tried to teach me. It was not just a case of having bad teachers, or bad parents or because of a learning disability – where was I in all of this? I remember with love Sr. Mary Catherine in Grade 9 who somehow managed to break through the deep fog that I hid myself in; and Kay Cronin who in my later teens managed to penetrate that fog of protection that was like a suit of armour. Then the good people of AA, and later Madonna House, my parish, my colleagues, the Oblates. It is like a tidal wave of images crossing before my minds eyes and I am not able to write the words fast enough. God – the Holy Spirit – my Beloved – there the entire time, from the moment I was born and even before – with me in that fog, protecting and holding on to me so that I did not get lost; and then when the time was right guiding others to enter the fog and touch me, teach me, walk with me. My beloved who seduced me, invited me and walked with me as I took small forays into the world of living, much as a child tests the waters at the beach, dipping in a toe and then quickly stepping back, and a little later immersing one foot before retreating again.

    Why had I fought it for so long? Why was I so afraid? This morning I reflect on the infinite patience of my God, and of those who love me; and I feel a little overcome as I recognize how deeply I am loved. Look Lord, at what you have done with me! As I set out today to be a part of the world, meet and be with others, hopefully to share what I have received. I am a part of an invisible thread running with us, in us and through us.

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