THREE OF THE BEST MISSIONARIES

Eugene had written about the mission to Corsica: :

But fulfilling this task is going to cost us very heavy sacrifices.

Letter to Hippolyte Guibert, 18 October 1834, EO VIII n 493

The Oblates were small in number and heavily committed in France.

Because of the quality men that you need, it will cost me a lot to tear them away from the various ministries that they are carrying out with incredible blessings and success

True to his word, Eugene sacrificed the missionaries on mainland France to give the Corsican seminary three of his best Oblates: Fathers Albini, Guibert and Telmon.

You are aware of Father Albini’s reputation: he is a learned theologian and also a holy missionary; he is teaching theology with distinction since a great number of years and he spends his vacations in evangelizing the poor. Besides he is doing such good work here at Marseilles that by taking him away from here I am going to offend everyone; he’s the man you need. I cede him to you. A dogma professor will go with him, a man of talent who teaches Holy Scripture and liturgy. Then I will give you as superior the priest[2] who is most distinguished in our regions for his deep piety, his vast knowledge and his delicate and refined spirit. He is greatly appreciated in the diocese of Gap where he is the superior of the shrine confided to us; impossible to say who reveres him more, the bishop, the clergy or the lay people. I don’t know how I will come to terms with all those groups, but that’s of little importance; he is also the man you need, at least in the beginning …

Letter to Bishop Casanelli d’Istria, 19 September 1834, EO XIII n 83

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One Response to THREE OF THE BEST MISSIONARIES

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Three of the best… I don’t know if Eugene ‘measured’ his men, however looking at the men God had given him to be a part of his community these three definitely were gifted in ways that would allow Eugene to send them further away from him; trusting in the gifts God had given to them. This could be looked at as a ‘trial run’ for what was to come a scant 7 years later when Eugene sent 6 of his Oblates to Canada (and Fr. Telmon would be one of those first six).

    I think for a moment of the Inter-Chapter that has begun today in Obra, Poland where our Provincials are meeting, our current Provincial and the Oblate who will become our new Provincial in August. I think of my friend who is ‘working’ to support’ the Inter-chapter and how all of them, each with particular gifts, have been chosen for specific tasks and how they will share and hand-on those gifts to others. This practice which Eugene himself began with his founding community and which he entrusted to others to be used in the future.

    There is in all of this immense trust that God will continue to lead all of us to where should be, how we should be.

    A stray thought of how God works in us for it seems that when we are at our poorest that we are asked to give ‘everything’. Eugene who is in the midst of one of the most painful parts of his life, unsure of what will happen to him and so his fledgling congregation, who has so much to lose on so many levels turns to Bishop Casanelli and promises his best men at the very time when it might have seemed much safer to send three of his newer men. However Eugene also knew that these three were solidly grounded in living the Rule of Life they had received following the approbation of the Constitutions and Rules a mere 8 years earlier.

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