As Henri Tempier was to officially visit the community in Laus in Eugene’s name, he is given advice on dealing with two Oblates who were sensitive and had issues. The first was about Alexandre Dupuy, who was to leave the Oblates a year later. Cf.

You must treat Fr. Dupuy with confidence and mildness in order to dissipate the unjust prejudices that he has conceived

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

As for the local superior at Laus, give him advice as coming from yourself, mildly and in a conversational manner, to be less susceptible than he is; it seems evident that this is a fault of his which he has yet to acknowledge.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 16 July 1829, EO VII n 333

The second one who needed to be handled with confidence and mildness was Andre Sumien (cf. He was a difficult person and he and Eugene had had disagreements in the past about his behavior. Eugene’s gesture was meant to reassure him.

I will not wait for your visit to name Fr. Sumien as second counsellor. I am quite agreeable to have this mark of confidence come to him directly from me so as to prove that I have restored him to my good grace, which he was convinced he had lost.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 16 July 1829, EO VII n 333

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    There is a little sadness within me as I read the accounts of both Alexandre Dupuy and Andre Sumien, both of whom never seems to be able to fully enter into the spirit of the Oblate community. Being an ‘all or nothing’ kind of person most of the time it is hard for me to imagine taking only bits and pieces of the Oblate way of life and yet as I sit with this I remember when I first joined AA and began to sober up. I was prepared only to go along with some of the thinking – I tried doing it my way and of course that did not really work, and then I tried doing it with ‘some’ of the steps and that did not work either. Surrendering a little bit at a time and holding onto little pieces is not really surrendering (I realise this now). I was not happy or sober (I was dry) and I am sure it was not all ‘sweetness and light’ to be around me either – and yet the people there did love me and continued to work with me. At one point my actions (which went against everything that they were trying to teach me) hurt the community and I must admit that it was not until this morning that I was able to fully recognize that (previously I have thought of it only being harmful to myself).

    The way that Eugene, Henri Tempier and the others in the community were with both of these men stands out and explains much to me this morning. This acceptance and loving of another is not always easy and yet we are called to it if we are to be a part of any family or community.

    We all have our part to play in and with each other. God keeps pointing that out to me in the most tender of ways as has happened this morning.

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