22 year-old, Scholastic Brother Charles Baret, was brilliant person. Yvon Beaudoin wrote about him: “A musician and poet with a great gift for languages, he then learned English and Italian from his Irish and Italian confreres, not to mention Hebrew and Greek. Nonetheless, during his three years of theology, he struggled with the monotony of the regimented life of pious exercises. He subsequently wrote …“classes in the morning, classes at night, always class matter to learn, texts to recite by heart. This fixed and unchanging systemic uniformity stultifies and disgusts one’s imagination…” 

He taught philosophy to his fellow-Oblate scholastics, and was chided by Father Tempier ” in which he urges professor Baret to follow the manual written by Bouvier and to not to disparage it before his students, the first year scholastic brothers: “It is a main blunder,” he explained,” I have seen many professors make with regard to an author they were using. It seems as if they thought that by criticizing the author, they enhanced their own personal worth by making themselves disdainful and stupid critics of a work the tenth of which they themselves could never have authored.” (

Eugene supported the advice of Fr Tempier:

Limit yourself, my dear child, to what Father Tempier has just told you in my name. Do not work for your own personal satisfaction. but do everything for the Lord who will hold you to account for it; I bless you and embrace you tenderly.

Letter to Scholastic Charles Baret, 16 October 1847, EO X n 947


Experience had taught Eugene that focus on “doing everything for the Lord” was the key to missionary success – not personal interest. The young Charles was frustrated because he believed that his talents and abilities were not being properly used. In 1861 he was capable of writing: ” Great lives were always made up of a monotonous existence. Genius, like holiness, will always be found on the beaten barren paths…”

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Lay Oblate says:

    I keep losing focus this morning – why does all of this not light a fire within me?

    I find myself thinking of “Sheldon Cooper” from the Big Bang Theory: he was it seems a genius who thought himself to be better than any other. It would seem that in trying to prove ourselves as better than any others our lives and the world that we live in can become small, empty and lonely… If we try to turn the spotlight of life on ourselves, we will become blinded and quite unable to see the goodness and many gifts of love and beauty of the other(s). I am unable to ignore the fact that if try I do everything for the Lord, seeing all through the eyes of the Lord and living that out, then our focus changes and moves to the other(s).

    Even recognizing and seeing everything through that lens, we still find ourselves at times trying to focus on ourselves rather than allowing the other to see our wounds and vulnerabilities.

    It is then that we might experience the Lord or experiencing the love of others who are like Eugene offering us the experience of hearing “I bless you and embrace you tenderly”…

    “I forgive you, I love you.
    You are mine, take my hand;
    Go in peace, sin no more
    Beloved one.” (The Redemptorists)

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