I WANT TO INSIST AGAIN THAT OUR FATHERS NOT BE SENT ALONE INTO THE MISSIONS.
Apostolic community was always a non-negotiable condition of Oblate life for Eugene. When he sent the first Missionaries to Canada it was with the intention of their living in a community from which they would do their missions. Once there, however, the Oblates became aware of the urgent need for evangelization among people who were abandoned and did not have anyone to offer them the possibility of eternal salvation. Thus began the ongoing conflict between two Oblate values: closeness to the people in meeting the most urgent needs versus the necessity for apostolic community.
I certainly have something to say about the sudden choice you have made of Bro. Loverlochère for the missions to the Indigenous Peoples. Do you not know that he needs much exercise in the practice, not only of religious, but even of the ordinary Christian virtues? It is not right to leave him on his own. And in that connection, I want to insist again that our Fathers not be sent alone into the missions.
The Jesuit Fathers have just made it a rule that even in the missions of the Maduré, the Fathers must always go in pairs. It is my formal intention that you adopt this policy. It must only be set aside by dispensation and necessity.
Letter to Father Jean Baptiste Honorat, 1 March 1844, EO I n 32
We will see that this was to be a constant preoccupation of Eugene as the foreign missions developed. It is a struggle that has still not been successfully solved today.
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