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