Having scolded the young Marius Suzanne for not taking sufficient care of his health, Eugene had asked him to rest a bit longer in Aix. There, however, the young priest could not contain his missionary enthusiasm, and gave himself to the ministry of confession.

You see from what I have just told you that you have not interpreted my mind badly by staying several days more at Aix; only I would have wished you to be moderate in undertaking to hear confessions, so as to be able to take the rest that I had prescribed to you very authoritatively.
No matter if you feel no more fatigue, you have nonetheless used up your health in the remarkable missions and retreats which have been accomplished.

Letter to Marius Suzanne, 23 April 1823, EO VI n 102

It was a lesson that Eugene himself had had to struggle to learn. It was one of Henri Tempier’s constant preoccupations to force Eugene to live a balanced life and to take the rest necessary for his body. As Eugene learnt to put this into practice in his own life, at the cost of illness and suffering, so did he try to help the young Oblates not to fall into the same trap of exhausting themselves totally and then not being capable of ministering effectively.


Leadership is an active role; ‘lead’ is a verb. But the leader who tries to do it all is headed for burnout, and in a powerful hurry.” Bill Owens

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Blessings to all on this Foundation Day! I dont’ know if it was by design but interesting that this letter and a focus on leadership should be the posting for today. Perhaps because it is Foundation Day, perhaps because of the quote from Bill Owens on leadership but I have found myself thinking of Eugene who was most definitely a leader, one who invited and still today invites us to be leaders, on-going, growing, sharing in life. That is the gift of Eugene’s spirit, his charism.

    It had it’s beginnings 2000 years ago as Luke says “The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me because I have been anointed to preach the Good News to the poor…”. And then 200 years ago with a particular statement from Eugene [which along with a few others from him, impacted my life, which was pivitol in my unfolding response to Gods call]; “We must lead the people to act like human beings, first of all, and then like Christians, and, finally, we must help them to become saints.” Awesome! What I had been looking for from the time of my birth. It was an invitation to join him, not just in something to be gained for myself, but to go out and share [something else that I/we were born to do]. This fosters birth, growth and the going out to lead others to the same experience – whatever that might look like. Leadership, it is a living, growing thing, it is shared and so lives on. Imagine a world of leaders, all of us stepping out, leading, together!

    And not one of us has to “do it all by ourselves” because true leaders nourish, support, foster and grow others to become leaders, they invite and enable. Today then we celebrate this Foundation Day with joy and incredible gratitude.

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