We find in September of 1834 Eugene writing to the Bishop in response to a request to open a Major Seminary in Ajaccio. This is something that will stretch the resources of the young congregation, however Eugene is approaching it with an open heart, giving what is requested of him. This in response to the feeling that the Church and the priesthood within France was still decimated as a result of the French Revolution and his personal call from God to form good priests.
“I am determined to make every sacrifice to establish solidly the immense good that you have in view and which will be done, with God’s help, through the cooperation of the men of God whom according to your command I am going to place at your disposal to set up your Major Seminary..” (Letter to Bishop T. Casanelli d’Istria of Ajaccio September 1918, 1834 – 83: XIII in Oblate Writings)
Talk about being open to the Spirit and the needs of others. He has just gotten to a comfort point and then was asked to let go of that and send his men elsewhere without knowing who would replace them or when. From where would come the vocations, the new men to fill all of these requests? Eugene had gathered them in and then after having formed them and dressed them, nourished them to where they could nourish each other and all others – he let them go and just kept going from there. Like a great huge circle or perhaps like an unending spiral – that is it the beginning point being himself, his heart and then it growing outward, bigger and bigger.
I can’t help but reflect that this is how it is with true love, whether it be in a family with parents and children, in a parish, in a community. It is ever growing.
I spent last week with the Oblates at our convocation. There too I am a part of that spiral – being sent out in some way. Such joy is this to be a part of this family, and starting yet again something new – who knows where it will end. This is what it means to be a Co-operator of Christ the Saviour, and of each other.