The Oblates who accompany the novices need to be fully available to them and not absent because of other preoccupations (no matter how worthy these could be). In our demanding mediatic world of today, this could also be seen as a signal not to lose ourselves in countless tasks so as to concentrate on better quality

Father Courtès is too busy in any case; we must have a man who is wholly and entirely for this or who can give more of himself to it. We must give these young people all possible means of perfection and after a short trial, if they do not take to it, send them away without pity. What is the good of having subjects who eat away and who in return for our care give us nothing but grief…
But, once more, we must look after them closely, almost exclusively, be continually with them, in a word, train them both by instruction and direction and even by conversation.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 26 November 1825, EO VI n. 208

To Courtès himself Eugene wrote:

Let the principal concern of the novices be that they work with assiduity to acquire religious virtues and the spirit of a true missionary in accord with our Rules… It would be necessary also that you get rid of several occupations so as to be more concerned with the novitiate. If we could replace Guibert in the exercise of the ministry, I would willingly have him take on this role under your direction.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 6 December 1825, EO VI n. 210


Oblate formators are attentive to the ways grace moves those who are in formation. In a challenging and encouraging way, they accompany them in their integral development as persons, in their spiritual growth and in the ongoing discernment of their Oblate vocation.

CC&RR, Constitution 51


“Young people require guidance and sympathy far more than instruction.”     Anne Sullivan

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “… they work with assiduity to acquire religious virtues and the spirit of a true missionary in accord with our Rules…” Like everything else that Eugene did in his life, how he worked and lived, I hear him speaking of the same intentionality that he lived by. I look back on my life and I never managed to pick up much of anything on my own, whether it was learning reading and writing in school, how to the live the 12 steps of AA, living in community at Madonna House, working at a new job. The list is endless. It was always a mixture of dedication, patience, guidance, mentoring, empathy and instruction. It was most certainly a relationship, a sharing. It was a giving and receiving on the part of those who at the various stages of my life were involved in my instruction, my formation. And as I look back it required my own involvement as well as an openness and trust on my part.

    Just as a small child demands from his or her parents total attention, total availability and a never ending giving of the qualities I spoke of, it would seem that we all require this at stages of our lives, especially in our relationship with God.

    I think that Eugene might have been asking if the formators were fitting the novices into their schedules – or were they fitting their schedules around the novices? What and who were the priorities? I look at our Oblate Associates here, in a place where we are still young and where we all take part in our formation for many reasons. I can but ask how much do I give to our formation, do I try and fit the others into my schedule, or are they truly a part of my family and so I try to fit my schedule around them?

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