Where the Church is already established, our commitment is to those groups it touches least. (Constitution 5)
While the women “would spend their lives in the church” it was not quite the same thing for the men, and so a lot of energy and imagination had to be used to get in touch with them. Special moments of instruction were established, and all the men were invited to form and join a Men’s Congregation or Society:
Although these various instructions and all the exercises considerably prolonged the session, it was not thought possible to further defer getting the men together to urge them to inscribe their names in the catalogue of the Congregation; and to give them various private notices, etc. The women were accordingly dismissed, and a great number of the men alone remained
The invitation to the men to conversion necessitated more that words, and so the missionaries invited them to set us a society or congregation, with a centre where they could meet to pass the time together and support one another.
After addressing them some edifying words, we inscribed those who were better disposed: it came to one hundred and twenty five. We announced to them at the same time the setting up of a centre20 where the Congregants could meet for a chat and for honest recreation. This went down well. It should be done in all our missions.
Diary of the Marignane Mission, 12 December 1816, O.W. XVI
The results began to be tangible and Eugene notes later:
The evening, the exercise was for the men only. The church was full of them, it was a fine sight. There was perfect silence. Sermon on the Prodigal Son. Benediction.
Diary of the Marignane Mission, 14 December 1816, O.W. XVI