At a moment in his youth when Eugene felt “most deprived” of a direction in his life, he understood that it was in the direction of the Cross that his solution would come. Understanding the love of Jesus Christ the Savior for him, everything changed and he was no longer “deprived.” With the joyful acceptance of a fixed direction in his life, he became painfully aware of the many who were “deprived” of any enduring meaning in their lives. His early ministry as a young priest was a response. He dedicated his life to helping the “most deprived” to come to his same transforming realization.
In 1816 he was inspired to invite others to join him in a life of making a difference to the lives of these persons. Now in 1818, he codified this commitment in the Rule. Its first two articles showed the direction of the initial response of the Missionaries to those most deprived of spiritual things in Provence:
Article 2. That is why the members of this Congregation will work under the authority of the Ordinaries on whom they will always depend, by providing spiritual aid to the poor people in the rural areas and to the inhabitants of the country villages who are the most deprived of spiritual things. They will provide for those needs through missions, the teaching of catechism, retreats, or other spiritual exercises.
1818 Rule, Part One, Chapter One. The ends of the Institute,
§1 Preaching the Word of God to the people