We are beginning to make the acquaintance of the first generation of Oblates who came in after the initial founding group. These are names we will frequently come across in the writings of Eugene – Oblates who have left their mark on our missionary history. Hippolyte Courtès is one of these. Until Eugene’s death Courtès was his friend and confidant, and we see him being nurtured and helped to grow in his Oblate vocation as a missionary, the superior of the Aix house at a young age and as a formator of succeeding generations of missionaries. As zealous and capable as he was, so too did he have a tendency to being pessimistic. Eugene exclaims with frustration:
I have often said to you that I always tremble to open your letters. Few of them contain something that is not disagreeable or disturbing.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 15 October 1824. EO VI n 155
Eugene, however, was always kind and encouraging and kept in regular contact so as to be a guide and advisor for him in the various responsibilities he had.
We must expect, my very dear friend, all manner of trials. I know how susceptible you must be to the attitude of most of those to whom you give your services with such attention and concern.
Console yourself by realizing that it is a new trick of the enemy of all good, from whom it would not be reasonable to expect the least respite.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 11 October 1824, EO VI n 154
“Son, brother, father, lover, friend. There is room in the heart for all the affections, as there is room in heaven for all the stars.” Victor Hugo