The small Oblate congregation had been hit by the loss of two men. The existing missionary commitments had thus to be re-evaluated and decisions made to maintain only those works more in keeping with our charism and vocation.
As for myself, I humbly confess I am helpless in the face of the decrees of Providence. I had everything arranged, counting on the two men who have been snatched away from me; I must perforce fall back on our remaining resources to meet various sacred commitments, conformable moreover as they are to our vocation. I don’t conceal from myself the fact that many things are suffering in consequence; but I repeat, I’m not the master of events.
All the Oblates are urged not to lose hope and courage, but to rely in God’s providence and time.
Our duty to all is to do our best, each in his own sphere, with the means that remain to us. These trials should not be beyond our courage. Small wonder when a boat moves along with the wind behind it! The sailors can relax. But when the wind is contrary and the seas are rough, that is the moment for them to jump to work so as to reach land safely. So let’s show patience and be of good courage; don’t let’s allow ourselves to be beaten. How many times have we had the calm after the storm! So let there be no weakness but put a good face on things; men may pass, let us wait on God’s good time.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 25 September 1836, EO VIII n 589
Advice still very pertinent today!