The demanding Fr Dassy was superior of a community of young priests. The novice master, Eugene Dorey was 27 and the members of the missionary community were Francois Xavier Michelier who was 25, César Depetro who was 24. All three had been ordained priests for approximately one year. Dassy had to be the mentor who initiated them into ministry.

I approve very strongly that you be severe for sermon composition by Father Depetro, and that you do not allow him to compromise himself in the pulpits of Nancy. However, even before he attains the degree of perfection that you aim for, I would like you to try him out in some community or some village, lest he be discouraged, lest he be bored. I would say the same thing for Father Michelier whom Father Tempier did his very best to restrain. He is going gladly to Nancy, convinced that at first he is to be edified in such a well-run community, but also that you will help him in his work which he keenly desires to do well.
I recommend kindness in your leadership. Do not tire your people, be charitable and patient. Be firm when you must, but never be hard.

Letter to Fr Toussaint Dassy, 14 October 1848, EO X n 989


“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.” (John Wooden)

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Lay Oblate Associate says:

    Do we smile at the small child who walks with their father or mother as they return to their pew after having received the Eucharist? Do we smile at them for no other reason than to love? Do they seem to cringe away from us and melt into the safety of their parent, or do they shyly smile back at us?

    Eugene was reminding one of his sons to smile at the young men he was sent to lead, to be a coach and a mentor in the lives of all they met.

    It’s amazing how we respond to those who love us regardless of our struggles and weaknesses. Big sins or little sins. Isn’t it true how we gradually learn to give love back – not because we have been taught, but rather because it helps form us into who God has created us to be.

    We in turn learn how to share love with others, loving them in the ways that we have been loved. A smile and little measure of love is the stuff of conversion between all of us…

    It matters not to whom we give a smile and share a love that is waiting to be set free…

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