Eugene’s and the Oblates’ care for the victims of cholera was of a pastoral sacramental nature. The novices were unable to provide this type priestly ministry, and so Eugene want them out of harm’s way so that they can stay healthy in order to be ordained in the future. He asks for his mother’s help in this.

I am worried about our novitiate. There is nothing more fitting than that all priests stay to carry out their ministry zealously even at the peril of their lives; but all those young men who are the hope of the Congregation that I founded with such difficulty, to what good is it to expose them without benefit for anyone? I am entertaining an idea which I wanted to tell you and receive your reaction before mentioning it to anyone else. What if I were to send them to St-Laurent. They could sleep in the hayloft, for there are no beds, and they could live in the chateau, safe from any danger, and attend to their regular religious exercises.

Letter to his mother, 20 July 1835, EO VIII n 85

This entry was posted in WRITINGS. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    A slow start this morning for I keep looking at the words above, unable to focus on much of anything save for Eugene’s way of loving all. I see in Eugene the father-figure. I see his love for his family and also for those young novices who were just learning what they were being called to. He turned to his mother to propose sending them to the family property in St. Laurent – where Eugene had gone to stay for a brief period when he returned to France from exile and where he later went to work on that first set of Constitutions and Rules. It was a chateau of sorts – a farm but at least there the young men would be safe, have a place to sleep and eat and to continue their studies.

    “I am worried about our novitiate.” The young novices are clearly connected in Eugene’s mind and heart as part of his overall family. I think of how Eugene will open his heart even further later on with the Irish during the great ‘potato famine’ and where he will find practical solutions to help them just as he is here. For me it is also a foretelling of what he will do in the not too distant future as he sends others out to different countries and across the oceans – not knowing if he will ever see them again.

    All of this was taking place during one of the most difficult and painful times of Eugene’s life and yet still his heart continued to grow ever larger, encompassing all.

    For some reason I am reminded of my stay at Madonna House where over every door someone had written in chalk “…I am third”. When I asked why this was over every door I was told that it was to remind us as we entered into a room that “God is first, you [as in others] are second and I am third”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *