I usually focus on the more spiritual extracts of the writings of St. Eugene. Apart from running a huge diocese, a missionary Congregation and its activities, he also gave his opinion on mundane activities!

My dear son, Father Tempier has not yet returned from a short trip he had to take. I will therefore answer the letter you have just written to him. I am perfectly in agreement that you should get rid of your horses. I do not see why you should deprive yourselves of 600 francs of income that would result from renting out your meadow for the pleasure of pasturing two nearly useless animals…

I see some difficulty in the purchase of a cow. This animal would eat up your hay, and you would be deprived of the income from your meadow. Truly your land needs enriching; but besides doing this by having a few pigs whose sale pays back for the expenses they cause. I think it would be easy to buy manure in the countryside. However, it would be a good thing to have a goat to furnish milk for those Fathers who might need it.

Letter to Father Etienne Semeria in Vico, Corsica, 24 August 1843, EO X n 813

Reminds me of the great mystic, St Teresa of Avila, who said that she found God among the pots and pans in the kitchen.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    My first reaction this morning upon reading the title was to giggle.

    Eugene’s experience during his exile as a young man would have taught him some rather severe lessons on living, especially being among the poor as they fled from one city to another to stay ahead of Napoleon’s armies.

    History has taught us that the missionaries being sent to the New World and other continents needed to work in order to stay alive, often having to build their own houses, and tend to the livestock.

    A very real and often difficult “walking with” the poorest of the poor whom they, and we are sent to serve.

    “In so doing, we risk finding ourselves among the marginalized of our community, our society and our church, taking our place among the por and the powerless, walking with those who, like us, hold within themselves tremendous beauty, strength and gifts as well as weaknesses, brokenness and limitations, that together we may help one another experience the love of God…” (from OMI Lacombe Canada Province Mission Statement).

    We find God not only in the chapel, but also in the garden and the farmyard, the kitchen, the laundry room and workplaces of those we are sent to serve. At Madonna House I would work and pray to Our Lady of the Kitchen, the Office, the laundry room, the cheese room and every other room that I worked in.

    I am reminded of Jesus who died on the cross, for sake of all of us. His death led to his resurrection. Our many small deaths will lead us to and through our own transformations. That is what it is like when we take our place and serve with the poorest of the poor and ourselves.

    I am reminded of the first disciples chosen by Jesus; one a tent-maker, another a tax collector, and still more who were fishermen… “We were sent to evangelize the poor; the poor are evangelized.”

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