Writing to Father Casimir Aubert, the novice master, Eugene reviews the progress of the novices and concludes with advice regarding one in particular, from which he draws an important lesson for all communities.

Try to bring your influence to bear on Gignoux to get him into the way of a sensible measure of regularity, the way to go about it is to set up some chats with him in which without any affectation you talk about what real perfection consists in.
Don’t neglect this kind of fraternal and trusting sharing with the others as well, it always has good results and ends up forming a family spirit even amongst those who were not drawn to it at the outset. I understand that it can be more agreeable to stay in one’s cell, but that kind of apostolate is more advantageous and more in line with my ideas. Goodbye, very dear son, with my love and blessing.

Letter to Casimir Aubert, 13 June 1836, EO VIII n 577

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Being real. I hear Eugene saying to Casimir; ‘Talk with them, be real with them.’ Sharing that is filled with familial love and trust can be quite disarming for it breaks down the barriers that we tend to want to protect ourselves with. Being able to be open and honest, telling it like it is in a loving manner with all of our brothers and sisters and with all that we are charged to care for – that is what builds community and draws others to join us.

    Once again I think of Lacombe Province’s Mission Statement: “…we stand with the voiceless, hearing and making heard their cry… […] we risk finding ourselves among the marginalized of our community, our society and our church,
    taking our place among the poor and the powerless,
    walking with those who like us, hold within themselves tremendous beauty, strength and gifts as well as weaknesses, brokenness and limitations, that together we may help one another experience the love of God, so we may be healed and give of ourselves in the service of the continuous unfolding of the reign of God within creation.”

    This is how we must live with each other and not just the other who is ‘out there, separate from us’. This is much more than comfortable friendship – this is familial love with all. I think the song sung by Frank Sinatra: ‘I did it my way!’ Here we are invited to do it together ‘our way’.

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