We have seen how Fr Dupuy had left the Oblates to be a diocesan priest and how he had been appointed pastor of the parish at Osier. On his own, he had asked the Oblates to come to join him to develop the pilgrimages to the sanctuary and preach missions. Fr Dassy had spent some time recuperating from an illness there, and had managed to persuade the Bishop to give the direction of the sanctuary to the Oblates.

The problem was that Eugene as Superior General and the Bishop of Grenoble had not spoken about this impulsive personal initiative. Thus, Eugene was nervous and used a diplomatic approach to the Bishop before agreeing to send Oblates to the marain shrine:

M. Dupuy has written to ask me for another man from our Congregation, and he assures me that he takes this step with your approval. I confess, Your Lordship, that I was so upset at first for not having followed the impulse of my heart which inclined me to write to you when he urged me to add M. Guigues to M. Dassy, whom he had taken with him, first with the intent of restoring his health, but whom he then retained as being very helpful to his work, so that nothing could determine me to accede to M. Dupuy’s wishes prior to knowing explicitly from yourself whether you agreed with this

Eugene then gives the reasons why Dupuy chose the Oblates instead of local clergy of the diocese:

There is no doubt that M. Dupuy, who is on the spot wherein he at first expected to accomplish the work of religion all by himself or with the help of a few priests of the area, saw that it would be too difficult and even impractical to form a community made up of heterogeneous elements, and he probably did not feel strong enough to spend his life in close association with strangers, each with his own will, divergent ideas, and unique spirit. He had come to know and appreciate the priests of our Congregation…

Letter to Bishop Philibert de Bruillard of Grenoble, 18 August 1834, EO XIII n 82

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    In his zeal Fr. Dupuy had not stopped to think of the possible repercussions of his actions, of how upsetting they might have been to the bishop of Grenoble, and how so many might have misconstrued the actions of the Oblates especially in light of what was taking place between Eugene de Mazenod and the agents of the government who were looking for any excuse they could find to hang him. He did not take into consideration the larger picture.

    Eugene who could be the consummate diplomat knew exactly the right words to use and how to use them to smooth over the situation.

    What might this look like in my own daily life? How often might I be tempted to go ‘off on my own’ to do ‘my own thing’ – acting out of my own brokenness? Thinking perhaps if I wait to go through the proper channels or follow the established practices that my request may be denied or even worse that another might receive all the credit for the idea. What have I done? What might another have done to me?

    An invitation to enter into a small reflection this 2nd Friday in Lent.

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