Writing to the superior of this Marian shrine that had been in the care of a group of young Oblates for a short time, Eugene referred to one of the aims of the Oblates when we were founded: to work for the formation and the renewal of the clergy. Our houses were always to be open to welcome priests for retreats or for spiritual guidance.
You tell me that priests are beginning to come. I hope they will be edified by what they see in your house. No amount of politeness counts as much as scrupulous fidelity to all our observances.
It was the quality of the lives of the Oblates that would lead to conversions, not their words. In a similar way new recruits would come to the community not through prayers, but through the attractive witness given by those in the community.
We do need to pray the Dominum messis [ed “Send laborers into the vineyard”] for him to send us workers. The most effective mea ns of being heard is for us to be everything we are called to be.
Letter to Bruno Guigues, 3 September 1835, EO VIII n 541