The novitiate year, at that time the first step in the process of becoming an Oblate, had been transferred to the house of Aix. The newly-appointed novice master was the 24 year-old Casimir Aubert. In this regard, Eugene wrote to the superior of the house, Father Courtès, to give him advice:
I urge you to keep an eye on the novice-master’s health; being very young and consulting his zeal more than his strength, he could easily ruin his constitution, which is not strong.
He also reminded the superior to never lose sight of the role of the novice master:
The master of novices must give himself fully to his task. Consequently, he must never be diverted from his usual occupations concerning the novices whom he must, so to speak, gather under his wings as the hen gathers her young under her wings.
Because of the importance of the novitiate process, Eugene has to be a part of the process:
No one will ever be admitted to the novitiate without prior notice to me. At least once a month I will receive a report on everything. In case of doubt on anything, I will be consulted.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, October 2 and 3, 1834, EO VIII n 486
Almost two centuries later the process continues, not only for those who want to be religious missionaries, but for many laity who wish to follow the charism and mission of St Eugene as Associate members of the Mazenodian family. A suitable time of discernment, formation and preparation is essential for all before a commitment is made.