It is hard work getting back to normal, the attack was so severe. You find me now in my fifth week as a convalescent and today I scarcely dared to offer Holy Mass, however much I may have desired this happiness…

Letter to M. Antoine Garnier, 26 July 1829, EO XV n. 160

During his time of convalescence, Eugene, maintained his responsibility for the welfare of the Oblates and their mission. Unable to do so in person, he sent Fr Tempier to spend time with each Oblate and to be his representative and mouthpiece. In preparation for this official canonical visitation, he sent some instructions.

Fr. Jeancard, who was with Eugene during his convalescence wrote to Tempier to communicate Eugene’s instructions to him. The sample below shows Eugene’s concern for a balance between being respectful by not being intrusive while, at the same time, not ignoring any necessary corrections to the practical aspects of the missions.

“The Very Rev. Father bids me say to you:

1’ – that your visit of the houses of the Society must be general, without excepting that of the novitiate;
2’   that you must give warning several days before your arrival amongst those who dwell in these houses;
3’ – to make few rules or none at all;
4’ – to show yourself as strict concerning the finances…

(YENVEUX, VII, 97). Quoted as footnote in EO VII n 333

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    An odd piece to be reflecting on this Friday morning. How can I relate to such a piece? And yet even as I write this I am reminded of a very small event the other day which I was not a part of but which I witnessed between an employee and his boss. The boss asked the employee to do a very specific task for someone who was ‘higher up’ in the institution. The employee agreed and then proceeded to suggest changes and improvements on his own citing a few reasons why. However his boss asked him to ‘stick to the script’ for this was what had been approved by another whose position was much higher than either of them.

    I watched as the employee concede to his boss without any type of rancour even though he appeared to believe his suggestions were correct and might be better for everyone. He was learning to ensure that he knew what was expected of him when he was asked to do a job. I witnessed the exchange and then forgot about it until this morning.

    How often when I am asked to do something for another do I try to improve upon it somehow? I must always remember who or what I am representing as I do even small services of love. There is and must be respect for the other, obedience to the other and letting-go of self. I need to ensure that I understand the parameters to work within as I do what I am asked to do.

    In first coming here this morning I thought that there was nothing for me to reflect on and sort of thought there was not much here until I was reminded of what I witnessed this past week. The small and the ordinary. That too was a topic of conversation that I had with that young man earlier that day as we discussed what it was that changed the world.

  2. David Morgan says:

    Your story Eleanor and that of St. Eugene’s instructions to Fr. Tempier remind me that there is no ‘democracy’ in a hierarchy. There can and should be mutual respect though which we see in St. Eugene’s actions with the Oblates time and time again. It seems the same in your story.

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